A/N: First off, thank you so much for your reviews last chapter. Two boxes of Kleenex and a bottle of Tequila later, all I can say is that I love each and every one of you. I really, really do. This has been one hell of a journey for me and I owe it all to my readers. Who, of course, are the best readers ever. No lie.
There's one character in this story that I must admit, I love beyond all others. To my surprise, he's also wormed his way into some of your hearts, given your comments. I tried writing this epilogue from Edward's POV then Jasper's, but it didn't work until I let a certain someone have his say. So, without further ado, I give you a quick peek into the future.
09/27/2014, 03:23 – CletPOV
I watched in amazement as my humans completely lost their minds. I always knew this day would come, but I'd thought I'd have a little more time. A few minutes ago, Edward's cell phone started ringing. I heard him talking excitedly and a few minutes later, he rushed out of the bedroom wearing a shirt, socks, and sneakers. Apparently he'd forgotten his pants somewhere along the way. He was yelling for Jasper to hurry up and grabbing his keys from the bowl in the foyer.
Jasper ran out next, holding a pair of jeans in one hand and some sort of stuffed bear in the other. At least he was dressed like a normal person. His hair was standing on end and he didn't help matters by continuously running his hands through it. "Babe, calm down!" he yelled, grabbing Edward by the shoulders and shaking him gently. "We've got time. Her contractions are still over five minutes apart."
Edward heaved a sigh and nodded. "I know, but I don't want to miss it," he said, resting his forehead against Jasper's. "I can't believe she's finally going to be here," he whispered.
Jasper kissed him sweetly and then offered Edward the pants he was holding in his hand. "Why don't you put these on while I gather everything up?"
Edward looked at the pants and then down at himself. "Jesus! Thank God you caught me before I made it to the garage," he said, snickering.
Jasper laughed and replied, "You are just excited, babe. Now, go. The sooner you get dressed, the sooner we can get to the hospital." Edward ran back to the bedroom as Jasper watched, shaking his head. I made my way over to him and rubbed up against his leg. He reached down and picked me up, stroking me with those heavenly fingers of his. Pressing his face into my fur, he whispered, "Finally." I felt a couple of warm drops water soak into my skin and twisted around to face him. He looked in my eyes and smiled. "She's finally here, Cletus. Just remember what we talked about," he warned, then set me on the floor.
I followed him to the kitchen, watching as he filled my bowls with food and water. Last week, Jasper and I had a conversation about the new friend they were bringing home for me. Jasper had told me all about Sofia and how lucky we were to be getting her. He'd cautioned me about how I'd have to be very careful around her and protect her from harm because she was going to be too little to do it for herself. He'd also warned me that he and Edward would have to spend a lot of time taking care of her for a while, but that I shouldn't get jealous because they still loved me too. Eventually, she would grow big and we could play together. I couldn't wait.
For years I'd been begging them to add to our family and they'd finally listened. I should've known something was up a couple of months ago. We'd moved to a new house and Edward and Jasper had brought loony Uncle Emmett, the cow, and their spawn over to help them decorate one of the bedrooms. The cow hadn't appreciated my help. She'd hauled me to the living room and watched as her girls, Emily and Ella, chased me around until I'd collapsed in exhaustion. Personally, I thought my paw print motif looked good on the carpet and certainly didn't warrant such a harsh punishment.
I was a little jealous because Sofia's room was cooler than mine. She had her own bed and this amazing dangling thing that hung above it. I hoped she grew big fast, because I was dying to play with that thing. Besides the bed, there was stuff everywhere; toys and plush pillows, blankets and bottles, and tiny little clothes. When I saw the clothes, I figured that Alice chick must have been here. She was forever trying to dress me up when Edward and Jasper left me in her care. I'd made a mental note to fill Sofia in on that right away so she could avoid the torture I'd had to endure at the hands of the psychotic mini-person. Edward caught me in there yesterday and told me that I could only come in if either he or Jasper were there because they didn't want me to hurt her accidently. What kind of idiot did they think I was? I'd been around kittens before, I wasn't completely hopeless.
Edward flew into the kitchen, skidding on the tile. I snickered. He usually laughed when that happened to me and I was glad to see him do it for once. "Jasper!" he screamed, not realizing that his husband was right behind him. "Let's go!"
"Babe, I'm right here," Jasper replied quietly, smirking behind him.
Edward whirled to face him and said, "There you are. Come on! Do you have the car seat? And the diaper bag? Oh! And the bear? We have to have bear."
Jasper wrapped his arms around Edward and kissed him deeply. When they parted, Edward's eyes were glazed but he seemed a bit calmer. "Breathe, babe. The stuff is by the front door, where you put it last week," he replied. "I was just makin' sure that Cletus had food and water."
"Did you call Carlisle and Esme? Rosalie and Emmett?" he asked, moving toward the phone that hung on the wall.
"Edward, it's three-thirty in the mornin' and Jennifer is only at five centimeters. We can wake them up later. Now, do you have the keys? I think it's better if I drive," Jasper said.
Edward handed over the keys and followed Jasper out of the kitchen and to the foyer. They loaded up the seat and the bag, then headed out. Edward poked his head around the door and looked down at me with a huge grin on his face. "Be good, Cletus. We'll be back in a day or two with Sofia," he said, closing the door behind him. As soon as I heard the key turn in the lock, I made my way to my room and started making my own preparations. I couldn't wait for my new friend Sofia to arrive and decided that I would share my toys with her. It took me a while, but eventually I finished transferring all of my favorite toys to her room so they would be there when she got home. Exhausted, I decided to go take a nap.
As I curled up in the top level of my palace, I wondered what Sofia would look like. Would she be orange like me? Or would she be grey and black like the tabby next door? Maybe she would be one of those cool tuxedo cats. Neither Jasper nor Edward had told me anything about her features so I was curious to see what she looked like. I drifted off to sleep, excited for her arrival.
09/30/2014, 09:12 – CletPOV
I heard the car door slam and raced into the foyer. They were finally home! I paced in front of the door, anxious to see Sofia.
Edward had been sending his litter mate, Carlisle, to feed and clean my litter box in the evenings. As we shared a pizza yesterday, he filled me in on Sofia. "She absolutely gorgeous, Cletus. She has Edward's hair and eyes," he informed me with a silly smile on his face. I'd always suspected that Edward's litter mate was a few cards short of a full deck, but this confirmed it. Jasper and Edward were human. There was no way in hell Sofia, a cat, could have Edward's hair or Jasper's eyes. But, in order to keep the peace and continue partaking in the pizza, I kept my mouth shut.
The key made a scraping sound as they unlocked the door and I stepped back to allow them to enter. Jasper came through the door first, looking tired but happy. He had the stuffed bear in his arm and the bag slung over his shoulder. He held the door open as Edward walked through, holding the seat they took with them the other day. I tried to catch a glimpse, but they moved quickly into her room and shut the door. Sitting in the hallway, I listened as they cooed to her and decided to head off to my palace. They'd warned me that they would be busy at first. I'd just have to wait until later.
09/30/2014, 11:09 – CletPOV
I woke up to the sound of a kitten crying. Lord, I'd forgotten about this part. Stretching, I decided to head out to see what was going on and maybe teach the humans a thing or two about kitten care. As I rounded the corner, I noticed that the door to her room was open. Approaching cautiously, I peeked into the room and made eye contact with Edward. He was sitting in a rocking chair holding Sofia, but I couldn't see past the blanket she was wrapped up in. Jasper was leaning down over Edward's shoulder and tracing his finger over her face.
"You can come in, Cletus," Jasper called, noticing me in the doorway. I crept into the room, not wanting to wake her up now that she was quiet again. I looked around for a place to sit and decided the tall table next to them would give me a good vantage point. Jumping up, I sat at the edge and looked down.
Startled, I let out a meow. What the hell was that? That was definitely not a cat. It gazed up at me as it sucked down whatever was in the bottle Edward was holding against its mouth. I guess that Carlisle guy knew what he was talking about. She did look like Edward. She had wide green eyes and wisps of copper colored hair. I looked over at Jasper and Edward to see them gazing down at Sofia in wonder. "I love her so much already, Jasper. It's amazing," Edward whispered as tears rolled down his face. "Thank you for believing in me. I love you."
Jasper leaned down to press a kiss on Edward's lips and replied, "I love you, Edward. I told you that you would be an amazing father."
They got lost in each other and the baby for a while, so I decided to lie down. I had to admit, I was bummed. Instead of a companion for me, they'd brought home a mini-human. Sighing, I put my head down between my paws.
"Edward, look over in the corner," Jasper said, pointing at something in the corner of the bedroom. He looked up from the baby and settled his gaze on where Jasper was pointing, shaking his head in amazement. "He shared his toys with her."
Edward reached up and scratched behind my ears, smiling. "See, I told you we'd all be one big happy family," Edward replied with a grin.
And he was right, we were.
A/N2: And that, my ducklings, is the end. There will be no sequel, I'm sorry to say. But stay tuned, because there's another plot bunny already hopping its way through my brain. This will definitely not be the last you hear from me. :) And as always, your feedback is greatly appreciated.