Chapter 27: Epilogue

Summer passed. Learning, getting used to the new way of life and getting to know each other took all the time but in a fun way.

I don't have to watch the future in the same way now I have a handle on how it works, as with the risk map I can just watch to see the paths and if they are changing. I noticed the path had fallen into shadow with dark paths popping up everywhere. I quick check on the future soon pin pointed the culprit. An ancient Chinese vampire plotting to take over since we weren't playing by his version of the warrior code.

I called a meeting without him and showed the futures and possible options with their outcomes. No amount of diplomacy would stop him, he would just become more and more inventive with his take over plans.

The best path now was to show him the futures.

He asked for an honourable death rather than any of the alternatives. At his request I allowed his smoke to disperse over his homeland. I felt more guilty over his death as his soul wasn't really dark, he was just unwilling to change. I suppose you could call it his religion. I just wish we could have found him a path that didn't disrupt everyone's future quite so much.

Four wolves were spending so much time here they moved in. My condition for them moving in was they had to join in the education program. Sam agreed to their absence since there isn't a vampire problem to defend against now. He was quite amused I managed to get them back to school, they enjoyed the free pass to skip school using 'Wolf duties' as their excuse!

The education is going faster than I hoped, I'd seen the visions of it going well but to see it coming to fruition was something else.

We had all taken part in 'Team building' exercises. Many had been modified for vampires but everyone got into the spirit, some sooner than others. The change in diet combined with a change in expectations made the transition to the new way of life much easier than many could believe.

Groups naturally formed making splitting us all up much easier. A few disputes broke out on who would lead each location which I nipped in the bud as soon as I heard them. There would be no leaders. We each have our own mind and an idea of what we want to do. I want us to learn to work together, each with an equal voice.

We had competitions and sports making up our own variations to suit our abilities, well their abilities. I have to sit many things out or try and reign back my strength, even blocking all my powers I'm still stronger and faster – still not quite fitting in! I'm learning to value my differences, when I'm with Edward they are irrelevant as he completes me. Edward had been feeling a bit useless and inferior, we had a long talk, I opened up my thoughts and feelings so he could see exactly how I feel about him. He got just a bit carried away afterwards. We both decide to wait for marriage but it was getting more and more difficult to wait.

Edward and I decided to get married here in Volterra. Training was running smoothly so it gave us the best chance to escape for a couple of weeks for a distraction free honeymoon.

Alice was in a shopping frenzy, enlisting the help of anyone that showed the slightest interest. Fortunately there was plenty of enthusiastic help so no-one unwilling got roped in.

I happily went dress shopping but left most of the rest of the details to Alice, peeking ahead in time to check the final result. I charted a few jets to fly out all the friends, family, work colleagues and other hangers on.

We had training sessions to get everyone used to having humans in close proximity. I didn't want anyone getting hurt on my wedding day. Shields are all well and good but I really want them to learn to cope without any reliance on me. This gave everyone the incentive to try and push themselves more than they would otherwise have done.

Our cover story for the human guests was an easy one. Everyone knew of my trip to Volterra to see the 'Big European' company. Using the theory that the closer you stick to the truth the easier it is to get the details right. We just told everyone the truth that I had turned the tables on them trying to acquire my company and took over theirs instead. It explained our new location and all the new people that would be attending our wedding.

The run up to the wedding day was busy; meeting and greeting family and friends, such a hardship! It had been over a year since I had spent any time with most of them. With kidnapping attempts then travelling and my change I had had an eventful time. I had plenty of catching up and stories to be told. Fortunately our cover story was so close to the truth, my only lies were those of omission.

The big day dawned clear and bright, seeing the future has it's perks! Alice had a full morning of pampering and beauty treatments line up for me and the rest of the wedding party. I never knew it could take so long to get ready!

Renee was with us so we made the pretence of food and toilet breaks, Thermos cups makes our diet much easier to disguise even without my abilities.

After hours of priming, poking and prodding at last it was time to go down for the ceremony. I suppose I had an easy time of wedding planning. Edward and I decided the date and location, I had an afternoon of dress shopping then a half a day of beauty stuff. I could have created the look in seconds had I been allowed to use my powers instead of being preened the traditional way. I don't suppose I can complain since I'm trying so hard to encourage them to go with out my powers!

I may complain about the priming and preening but truth be known I loved having the time to sit and chat to the females closest to me. I spend so much time leading then sneaking off to be with Edward, I haven't had the luxury for social time like this since, well when I come to time of it, since before I left Forks on my travels.

They all left to take their places for the ceremony. Now just the walk to the meadow, it was the only place big enough for all the guests. Charlie met us in the gardens. We had golf carts to ride down the tunnel, we couldn't really run with humans in the party!

As much as I wanted to get to the ceremony I loved the time in Charlie's company, just the two of us. He is never normally verbose but conversation never dried up. More than anything else just this time with Charlie makes me realise how lucky I am. I am a vampire but I still get to keep all my human family and friends. All my fears about coming to Volterra came to nothing, life for most doesn't go the way you expect. I miss the surprises tomorrow brings. I intend to try use my powers as little as possible to find my own future, I'll keep the overall future on track but let tomorrow stay unknown for me.

I had grown an arch of white rambling roses for us to get married under. Alice and her team had outdone themselves decorating but I hardly noticed. My eyes went straight to Edward. He stood waiting for me under the roses with Caius, who was doing the honours of conducting the ceremony. As soon as my eyes met Edward's I saw nothing else, only his eyes. I'm sure Alice will have co-ordinated his outfit to suit him and match my dress but I didn't even see it. Charlie's arm was the only thing controlling my speed down the aisle, the aisle was far too long!

The ceremony was simple and beautiful, my attention all concentrated on Edward. We each spoke when needed but everything other than Edward was just in the background. The kiss didn't come soon enough and was interrupted far too quickly.

I was in a daze as the flash of cameras started, stand here, moved there. 'Smile' was never an instruction either of us needed, we couldn't have stopped smiling if we needed too!

Back in the Castle, we had a buffet for the reception. All the vampires had strict instructions to help themselves to a plate of food. I had the art form of fake food down now. Even the youngest vampires now had no problems with the proximity of humans and none of the humans had a clue that they were surrounded by the supernatural.

Edward and I got separated soon after entering the Great Hall. Everyone wanted to congratulate us and talk. Alice directed the expected wedding traditions, we just followed orders!

At last Alice came to drag me away to get changed, we had claimed a departure time for our honeymoon, it's not our fault they assumed we needed to leave for flights! I was transporting us to Edward's choice of location. He made me promise not to look at the future so he could surprise me.

A surprise it was, those two weeks were heavenly, a revelation for us both but heavenly all the same. We lost ourselves in each other, the location was irrelevant. Neither of us wanted to return to Volterra but we consoled ourselves that we would return to our sanctuary. And, oh, did we. I checked the future but not too closely, it would be our secret holiday home for a long time to come, and that's on a vampire's time line!

I was swamped on our return with finalising details for the moves. I had learnt some huge lessons with my time in Forks and I delegated to those that were keen to take it on. My intention is to step as far away from leadership as I possibly can. I'll have to train them to get used to the idea!

My biggest lesson from my move to Forks was other peoples 'normal' would never be me, no matter what I did and the best I could hope for is finding what makes me happy. My list was quite simple; the things that make me happy are Edward, family and friends, helping others and my art work; finding a balance between them I think will be more difficult but that realisation of what is truly important to me, makes a good starting place.

As expected, I had some pressure to try and push me into taking sole leadership for the vampire race. The saying 'absolute power corrupts absolutely' became my get out clause. I promised to watch the overall future to ensure we were all heading in the right direction but I refused point blank to be involved in day to day running of everyone's lives.

I could say we lived happily ever after but life never runs as smoothly as fairy tales claim.

The future really did work out brighter than the version I showed them. The few little surprises I withheld had a huge impact for the positive. Let's just say my ability to cause change allowed something that was otherwise impossible and gave many their fondest wish.

We had plenty of ups and downs on the journey but the downs just made the ups all the sweeter and bought us together even closer.