Frankly, I got sick of waiting for Twilighted to validate this. I've made you wait a week. Here is the Epilogue to The Way it Should Be. By the first of next week, I will be posting the first chapter of Coming Home, which I already have 23 chapters of written. That will keep updates nice and regular. It will also be available on Twilighted, though it's been in the queue there for two weeks already waiting.
Thank you all for coming on this ride with me. It's been a long road, and we've finally reached the end of it. I've gotten a lot of really fabulous reviews, and I'm proud that I can finally mark this one complete. I love living in the world on fanfic, and writing is my eternal love. I hope I'm good at it. I will be self publishing my first original work on Amazon sometime in March, so I hope you'll be looking for it.
I have loved every second of writing this. Please, please, please let me know what you think of it, and the ending. I thrive on reviews. And it may be lofty, but I'll make this deal. If I get 60 reviews for this chapter, I'll go ahead and post the first chapter of my new fic.
Lots of love,
Bella stood at the top of the cliff, looking down at the crashing waves her hair blowing in the wind behind her. Slowly, she toed off her shoes, shrugged out of her jacket, shivering at the cold November air. Behind her, the excited chatter of the group assembled had her looking over her shoulder with a smile.
Jacob walked up next to her, laying a hand on her shoulder. "Ready to go?"
Bella nodded. "With you? Always."
He chuckled as he looked over with her. "We're always the last to jump."
"At least I haven't already been over a dozen times this time." She smiled at her husband, stepping into his arms, sighing in contentment as they closed around her, surrounding her with his familiar warmth and scent. She tipped her head up, and his mouth closed over hers heatedly, the burn starting deep within her body as it always did.
Jacob slid his arms around her waist, lifted her up slightly, and his eyes locked onto hers, his mouth hot and intoxicating on hers, he took her over the edge.
The water closed over them, cold and breathtaking. But Bella wasn't scared. She let Jacob propel them toward the surface, wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck, pressing herself against his much bigger body as he took them through the water. They broke the surface together, matching grins on their faces, and completely wrapped up in each other.
Slowly, he took them toward the shore, setting her down when the water was waist high. Emily met them at the edge with towels, which they both accepted gratefully. And as she rubbed her wet hair, Bella looked around the group.
The pack, their wives. Seth had brought his girlfriend, Mandy, who was still adjusting to the werewolf thing. Mackenzie, who was two, had her hands held by Maggie and Alicia. Various other children raced around the beach, bundled up against the cold. And among them, a part of the family, was the Cullens.
Alice, chatting animatedly with Leah, her eyes shining bright green in her tanned face. Rosalie was as gorgeous as ever, her hands resting on her hugely pregnant belly, Emmett's arm around her waist protectively. And Esme was standing with Sam, the precious bundle that was her three week old daughter in her arms.
Bella had found the legend that would allow vampires to become human. She had found it several days before the battle had taken place, but hadn't brought it up until afterward, fearful that it wouldn't work. After all, the solution was so simple. Shapeshifters, while they didn't have the ability to turn others into werewolves the way true werewolves did, still contained a certain amount of venom in their blood. Something about the shapeshifter blood counteracted the vampire venom that had turned humans into vampires.
Rosalie had been the one to test it. Jacob had volunteered. He'd phased, and allowed her to feed on him, which was something none of them had ever heard of happening. She had made faces at the taste of the blood, and was barely able to ingest the amount required, so repulsive was the taste to her. And within several hours, she had been unconscious, her body burning with a high fever, sweat pouring from her. And in something that looked much like the transformation from human into vampire, Jacob's blood had done it's job and slowly, her flesh softened, and Carlisle was able to transfuse enough blood into her body so that her heart began beating again. As soon as they knew that it was working, everyone else had gone through the process.
Esme hadn't wasted time trying to start a family. That was the one thing she had longed for most. Children of her own. Carlisle had told her the odds of procreation were slim, but she had begged him to try. And somehow, she'd become pregnant very quickly. It seemed that when the shapeshifter blood reversed the process, it returned the body to the state it had been in before it had been turned. It was as if vampirism had merely preserved the body, rather than killed it.
There had been a bit of a scare when she'd gone into labor eight weeks early, but she'd given birth to a healthy, if small, baby girl, which she'd named Kennedy Isabella. From what Bella had overheard, Rosalie was pretty sure she was going to have a boy, and had decided that Jacob was going to gain a namesake. In honor of his having given her her life back. It seemed oddly appropriate. And while he was uncomfortable with the idea, he wouldn't dream of telling her that she couldn't name her child after him.
And as for Bella and Jacob, they had married soon after she'd been released from the hospital. It had happened in April, only a week after she'd gotten the cast off her wrist. She'd worn a simple white dress, he'd worn khakis and a white button down, and they'd done it in a quiet ceremony on First Beach, with the pack, the Cullens, and their families the only ones present. Then in August, they'd welcomed their son, Reece William Black, after Billy. They'd agreed their next child would be either Charles or Charlotte for Charlie.
Bella was snapped out of her thoughts by Mackenzie barreling through the sand at her. She stooped, scooped up the toddler and cuddled her close. "What's up, baby?"
"Daddy said we can go get ice cream." She batted her eyes at Jacob, who was trying not to laugh. "Didn't you, Daddy?"
Jacob shook his head. "Can't say I remember anything about ice cream." His eyes twinkled as her little face fell. "But I don't think it would hurt. Just let Mommy and Daddy get changed and dried off first."
Mackenzie leaped from Bella's arms into Jacob's, peppering his face with kisses, and nuzzling her face into his neck, perfectly content in her father's arms, even if he was soaking wet. He gently sat her on the ground, watched her scamper back up to the beach to her Uncle Sam and smiled.
"She is going to keep us on our feet."
Bella lifted one eyebrow as they reached the truck and she grabbed her clothes out of the back seat. "You mean to tell me she doesn't already?"
"Well she's your daughter."
And she was. As soon as they were married, Jacob and Bella had filed for her to legally adopt Mackenzie. Mackenzie already looked at Bella as her mother, wouldn't ever remember anyone filling the role but her. The process had been very quick because Megan was dead, and within only a few months, Bella had been declared Mackenzie's mother, in the eyes of the law at least. For everyone else, she'd been Bella's since the first utterance of Mama.
Bella turned to see Leah standing by the truck, shifting from one foot to the other and looking uncomfortable. She kept glancing at Embry, who nodded and looked pointedly at Bella. Bella put her clothes down, turned to give Leah her full attention. "Yeah?"
"So I'm not good at this, so I'm just going to say it. I'm sorry I've been a bitch. At first, it really was because of what you did to Jacob, and well, he was my Alpha, and he was my friend, and I thought you'd do it again. But what you did, risking your life for us? That was pretty cool. And defending me when I threw you off the cliff? Also pretty cool. And I know Quil would be dead without you. So I'm sorry. For everything I said, and most of the things I thought. I think, now at least, that you're pretty good for Jake, and that it's good that you're here. And anyone with eyes can see Mac's your whole world, and even I can't say you're a bad mother, which, it's me, and if I could, I totally would, because, hey, that's just how I am. And I don't know if we'll ever be friends, but I'd like to not be enemies, if only because I hate fighting with Embry, and with us just finding out I'm pregnant, I'm gonna need him to be in a helpful mood." She shrugged almost apologetically. "Doesn't mean I don't mean this, just that without a little incentive it would've taken me longer to say it. So, while we're here, and it just seems right, being the anniversary of the day we all went, and with everything's that happened-" she extended her hands, sighed in relief when Bella took them, "I guess what I'm after is, jump with me? For real this time."
Bella squeezed Leah's hands, nodded, tears swimming in her eyes. "Let's go."
Embry let out a wolf whistle as they walked toward the path to the cliff. "I'm next!"
Bella looked over her shoulder and grinned. "Oh why the hell not? It's fitting." She was still laughing when Seth charged up the hill and scooped her up, running with her to the top of the cliff. Within minutes, she was joined by the rest of the pack. "Just tell Emily to get more blankets. I'm gonna be at this for a while." She extended a hand for Leah, who grabbed it firmly. They looked at each other, and with a silent agreement, ran full speed and launched themselves off the edge, screaming the whole way down. And this time, Leah didn't let go. Nor did any other member of the pack.
Jacob felt Bella stir in bed next to him and rolled over, locking his arms around her to keep her from getting out of the bed. "He'll cry if he needs something."
Bella laughed, relaxing into his arms. "He's always up every three hours. He must be hungry, Jake. I need to go feed him."
He tightened his grip on her, bringing her head onto his chest, running his fingers through her hair. "I know you're new at this, but it's my second time round this track. They do eventually sleep through the night like a normal person. He's three months old now. It's about time Reece started letting Mommy get a little more sleep."
Bella still struggled to sit up. "Jake, I don't mind, really. And I'm up, so I'd might as well feed him."
In three months, Bella had barely let Jacob do any of the nighttime feedings. She was always on her feet the instant he started crying, rushing toward the nursery to breastfeed, and change him and rock him back to sleep, humming and soothing him until he went limp in her arms gazing into his face with so much love it threatened to bring him to tears every time he saw it. Bella had been made to be a mother. She was content with her babies, staying home with them, working while they napped, or while Jake took them after work. She never complained about dirty diapers or potty training, or when the baby wouldn't stop crying. She just did what needed to be done. And he knew that she would never settle in and go to sleep until she knew that their son had not, in fact starved to death in the three hours since she'd last fed him.
"Okay, come on." He got out of bed, held out a hand for her. "Let's go check on him. But, if he's asleep, you cannot wake him up. It's good for them to sleep longer at night. That's what all parents dream of."
Bella nodded, scrambling from bed and pulling on her robe over her nightshirt. "Okay, but if he's awake then I get to go through the routine."
"And if he's not, which he won't be, we come back to bed, and since we're up, I'm going to make use of the time I have alone with my wife, with both children sound asleep."
Bella felt the familiar heat pool somewhere near the center of her body, and lust immediately darkened her eyes. That was the one thing that had bothered her the most about giving birth. Eight weeks without being able to touch him. "Deal."
Together, they crept down the hallway to the nursery, and Jacob slowly pushed the door open. What they found had them both smiling. Mackenzie had taken her Disney princess sleeping bag, her pillow, and several stuffed animals, and made herself a bed next to her brother's crib. She was sounds asleep, coloring book and crayons all over the floor. One look in the crib assured them that their son, so perfect with his father's hair and his mother's eyes, with his dusky skin and perfect little hands, and the softest skin Bella had ever encountered, was, indeed, sound asleep. Jacob reached into the crib, adjusted his hat to keep his head warm, let his hand rest on Reece's chest, feeling it rise and fall with each breath, and for an instant, wondered how he'd gotten so lucky. The woman of his dreams, two beautiful children. It was more than any one person deserved to have.
Checking to make sure neither child was cold, he turned to smile at Bella, hunger evident in his eyes. She bit her lip and cast one longing glance toward the crib, then turned and dashed down the hall to their room. He caught her by the bedroom door, lifting her into his arms and tumbling with her onto the mattress, his mouth hungry and hot on hers.
They rolled over the mattress, tugging at clothes, hands wandering over each other, their mouths fused together. Neither was in a mood for foreplay. They both wanted one thing, and that was to be joined. His boxers came off easily, and he lifted her nightshirt, finding her bare beneath it. With one powerful thrust, he entered her fully, both of them stopping at his invasion of her body. She moved against him impatiently, her nails scratching the skin of his back. He grinned wickedly and grabbed her nightgown, literally ripping it off of her to expose the rest of her body. Slowly, he began moving, making her groan with every thrust, kissing her neck, nipping at her throat, cupping one of her breasts in his hand, rubbing her nipple between two fingers. Her hips arched against him, rolling and driving him crazy.
With a groan, he rolled them so that she was on top of him. Bella splayed her hands on his chest, her body rising and falling as she rode him. He placed his hands at her hips, gripping them, his hips still driving his shaft deep within her. She leaned over to kiss him, and he felt her body tighten and spasm with release. He absorbed her cry into his mouth, pumping into her hard and fast, drawing out her orgasm until he was careening into his own, spilling himself inside her crushing her body to his, roaring into her mouth.
She was nearly asleep on his chest, drawing circles on his skin with her fingertips when they heard the door open downstairs. But before he could do more than sit up, Alice had pushed open the door and turned on the light, her face lit up with something. Jacob swore, dragging the blanket over them.
"I swear, if I'd known you would get to keep that fucking speed I'd have never turned you back."
Alice grinned, knowing he was only half mad at her. "I've seen her naked, and you have all the same parts as any other man, so there's no a thing to be embarrassed about. And I like the speed, and the strength. It's like the best of both worlds. I'm a little slower, a little weaker, and completely human. And speaking of which, I'm here because I just had a vision and I couldn't wait to share."
Bella sat up, worried. "The Volturi?"
"No, no, nothing bad. Actually, it's incredibly exciting. I've just seen our future Bella. Yours and mine. I saw the two of us, shopping for baby clothes."
"Yeah, Rose's shower is in a week. We're going to be shopping for baby things."
"No, silly. We're going to be pregnant together! And I sense soon! Of course I can't tell for sure anymore, but Jasper and I would like to be parents, so it doesn't concern me, but it was Spring when we were shopping, and I could just see you, of course, but you were pretty big, so if I had to guess, Jacob, you just got her pregnant. It'll be a girl of course, and you'll name her Charlotte Elizabeth. I believe I'll have a boy, and he'll be Damon Michael, yes, I believe that's right."
Bella gaped at Alice, looked down at her stomach. "But I'm still breastfeeding! And we just got to start having sex again, and I'm still carrying fifteen pounds of baby weight. I wanted to wait at least another year."
Jacob smiled, kissed the side of her head. "You're gorgeous. And just because you're pregnant doesn't mean we can't have sex. That's what put you in labor the last time, remember?"
Bella blushed at the memory, and Alice laughed, delighted with herself. She blurred over to the bed, hugged them both tightly. "All right, I'm going to go now. Jasper and I have to work on things if I'm going to get knocked up too. And Reece will wake up in twenty minutes."
Pouting, Bella collapsed against her pile of pillows. "Jake! We didn't want one so soon!"
JBE Jacob leaned down, kissed her belly. "I know. But if we get one, we get one. And we'll love it just like we do the other two." He looked up at her, "Besides, I want one more after this one."
"If you want another one, Jacob Black, you can damn well get pregnant yourself." She flounced from bed and down the hall to await Reece's wakeup. Halfway down the hall, she smiled. Four did sound like a good number.
Ultimately, Alice would be right. And instead of four, it was five, as Bella gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, two years after Charlotte was born. But neither Jacob nor Bella complained. They were a family, and if they were a little larger of a family than planned, that was fine with them. Because, in the end, they were together, and that was all that mattered.