And with a heavy heart, I present to you the final addition to Shadows at Midnight. I own nothing. The Twilight cast belongs to Stephanie Meyers and the Mortal Instruments cast belongs to Cassandra Clare. I only claim the awkward situations I shove them into.
"Do you have everything?"
Adjusting the straps of my backpack, I nodded dutifully to Charlie for the sixteenth time. "I have everything."
"Are you sure? Did you remember your pajamas? Underwear? Toothbrush? Socks?" Charlie fussed, running his hands through his hair again.
Placing my hands on his shoulders, I gave him a fond smile. "Dad, I'm fine. We've checked at least a dozen times now. I have everything, and everything is going to be okay. Trust me."
Taking a deep breath, Charlie let it out shakily as he exhaled slowly. "I know, I know. I'm just so nervous about you leaving." Gathering me into a rough hug, Charlie mumbled into my shoulder, "I'm going to miss you, Bells."
"I'll miss you too, Dad," I said, hugging him tightly. "I'll visit for all of the holidays. I'll even try to get some summers off."
There was a scuffle of footsteps as the Cullen family approached. Smiling tenderly, Esme said softly, "Don't be a stranger, Bella. We'll all miss you."
I gave each of them a hug, even Rosalie. "I'll visit when I can and write when I can't," I promised them. "That goes for you too, Jake," I added, spotting Jacob hovering around the edges of the room. Gathering him in a hug, I whispered into his shirt, "Take care, Jake. Keep building motorcycles for me, all right? You never know when Jace and I will show up to race them."
Hugging me back fiercely, Jacob mumbled, "I'll all ways be waiting for you to show up, Bella."
There was a knock on the door, and a nervous silence layered the air. "That's probably Jace," Charlie said dejectedly as he slunk towards the door.
"I'm going to miss you all," I reiterated. "Don't hesitate to send me a letter; between getting beaten up by Jace and being beaten up by demons, any non-Nephilim news will be a relief." A small, weak, chuckle went around the room as everyone refused to meet each others eyes.
Reaching for my hand, Simon drew me into a tender embrace. I clutched the fabric of his shirt between my fingers, breathing in his faint musk that was almost masked by the sweet scent of a vampire. "I'm going to miss you so much, Bella," his lips formed the words against the hollow of my neck, reverberating through my chest cavern and into my heart.
"I wish you could go with us," I admitted, hugging him tighter.
Kissing my forehead, Simon drew away and said sadly, "I know. I wish I could go too. But you'll do fine in Idris, I know it. You'll be outdoing Jace in no time at all."
"And you'll do fine in Denali," I said, automatically brushing his hair out of his eyes.
I didn't want to leave Simon. Despite the weeks of preparation for this moment, it stung and made my heart ache. I could only allow myself to look forward, though. Dwelling on the past would get me nowhere; I learned that one the hard way. I wasn't going to retake that course again. I brushed Simon's hair back one last time and kissed his forehead, biting down the urge to kiss him soundly, despite our audience. Instead, I turned and gave everyone one last embrace.
"Ready to go?" Jace asked from the doorway, a sad smile playing around his lips as he leaned against the doorway.
Looking around one last time, I tried to drink it all in: the lumpy couch that Charlie would watch sports on, the dusty tables with the old photographs scattered on them that Charlie would occasionally ghost his fingers across. The kitchen where I cooked for Charlie and where Magnus and Alec nearly gave Charlie heart failure. The chair where Simon and I had first kissed due to that silly game of Truth or Dare. My bed, upstairs, where Edward had guarded me while I slept. The old truck, which had to be left here, sitting outside on the driveway. That truck held so many memories; ones of Jacob and I driving around the town, ones of Edward driving while I rode with the window down and my hand in his and ones of Simon riding next to me while Jace rode in the truck bed as he laughed at the world as it rolled past. The front porch that I had once shared a cup of coffee with Charlie in the morning, where we sat and let the smell of coffee and the sound of silence wrap us like a blanket. The bedroom window that looked out across the world of Forks. Had I never opened it that night that Edward had crept in, none of this may have happened. I would have never tasted the world that I was now so irrevocably caught up in and in love with.
"Yeah," I said. "I'm ready."
I would just like to thank all of my amazing readers for sticking with me to the end. Here's to twenty chapters of hard work, late nights and amazing readers! I'll be starting up a new fanfiction sometime, so keep me on the radar.
Thank you all so much again, just for being here throughout the series. To all of you who made this story a part of your favorites or to those who kept me on your updates lists. I love you all so much!