This is the end, lovely readers. I can't tell you how much I've loved this story and how sad I am to say goodbye to this Edward and Bella. Thanks for the love, reviews and support.
Thank you Rhi for your beta skills, encouragement, and friendship.
As always, Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and its characters. This story and its contents however, are all mine. Please do not repost this anywhere.
To Be in Her Light
I stood in my study looking out the window to the garden. Bella was out there with our family. I briefly touched on each of those beloved faces and smiled. My family.
I fondly gazed upon my beautiful angel Bella. We had been wed ten years, and she was still my miracle. I still woke up each morning in awe that she was mine. She was a little heavier and curvier now after carrying my four children, but if possible, I found her to be even more perfect. I will always find her to be perfect, even when we're old and grey.
My eyes traveled over my children and, as always, I was amazed at how they could all be mine. They were all so different, but, yet, family traits were definitely there.
My oldest, Adele, she was seventeen now and a serious young woman. She and Bella were extremely close. They had been ever since that night Bella saved her life. She was modest in her appearance, did not like fripperies, and liked to read, and discuss current issues, Bella's influence shining through her in that. She and Bella had intense discussions that sometimes left me in awe. Neither were women to be trifled with, I thought in pride and amusement.
Adele was quietly pretty, not a great beauty. She tended to brood like me. She would need a man who could give her laughter and joy and bring her out of her shell. Her first season next year was going to be…interesting.
Next was Katie at fourteen, our ray of sunshine. She was always happy. Katie was fun, affectionate, beautiful…and she knew it. She adored any and all fripperies and dresses and nearly drove us all to distraction with her fashion plates. But she also had the best heart. Katie loved everyone, and they adored her in return. I dreaded her coming out in four years. She would be bombarded with suitors, I thought with a frown.
I watched mine and Bella's first child, Charlotte, "Lottie" as we all called her, annoying Katie. She was nine years old, and she was the reason the Hall was full of cats and dogs. She loved the outdoors and all living creatures. She was always bringing home a poor bird with a broken wing, or a cat, or God help us, even once a baby pig. She had her mother's chestnut hair and my features and green eyes. She worshiped Katie. Lottie was a gentle spirit who could be hurt easily, and we all did our best to protect her fragile heart.
Running around tossing a ball back and forth with his brother was my heir, Charles Edward. He was eight years old and had his mother's hair and eyes. He also had his mother's personality. He had a quick wit and keen mind. He was good, dependable, forthright, and understood already that someday I would be gone and he would be the seventh Lord Cullen. It would be his duty to take care of the estates and his siblings and his mother. I knew he would grow up to be a fine man. He was so much like Bella, he had to be good. I had no worries there.
Christopher, or "Kit" as we all called him, our six year old, was another matter entirely. He looked just like me and unfortunately had inherited a good portion of my personality. He was always up to some mischief, dragging along Charles, Lottie, and even Katie at times. Him we would have to raise with a firm hand. Sometimes Bella and I despaired of what to do with him, but in truth, we both were, for the most part, vastly amused at his antics. He was bright, loved to sketch and paint like Bella, and was very protective of his sisters. He was also quite charming. It was very hard to stay angry at Kit.
With our youngest, Georgiana, I had finally gotten my brown-eyed, chestnut-haired girl who looked just like her mother. It was clear that our four year old would be a true beauty someday, almost rivaling her mother, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She was the talkative one. She never stopped talking and asking questions. She was the most curious child I'd ever met. Her wonder and curiosity about the world and people around her never ceased to amaze me. She was also quite genial and open. Georgiana had never met a stranger. Everyone was her friend.
I grinned as I saw Bella scoop up Georgiana, grab Lottie's hand, and motion to Katie and the boys. They started dancing around while singing some song I couldn't quite hear. They even managed to get Adele to put her book down and join them.
Peters knocked on the opened door. "Do you require anything, my Lord?"
He was getting up in age, but still did his job taking care of us all. He stayed because he loved the family. I had offered him a nice little cottage on the grounds and a pension, but he said he'd stay a while longer. In the next couple years, he would begin to train Billy, or Collins, as I would have to get used to calling him, to do his job.
"No, nothing. Thank you, Peters."
Peters walked up and stood beside me, looking out the window. "I remember, my Lord, that first time you asked me about my Lady. I told you she was good. I was correct in that assessment. She's the finest person I've ever met."
I turned my face to him and nodded with a smile. "Yes, she is good. She's the finest person I've ever met as well."
"I was worried there for a while, my Lord. I thought you might not do right by her or see her true worth, but you did, even if she had to force your hand. She's made you into the fine man you are today. Your father would be proud of you."
I turned my head away to hide my emotion. "Thank you, Peters. I have always endeavored to be half the man my father was."
"I would say, my Lord, that you have more than succeeded. Well, I'll be off to supervise the polishing of the silver." He went to leave, but paused and turned back to me. "My Lord, one question."
"Why, my Lord, are you in here…instead of out there with them?" With that, he turned and went out the door.
I looked back out the window at my family.
He was right.
I walked over to the French doors and turned the handle and stepped out into the spring air and sunshine. The children noticed me, and the younger ones came running.
"Papa! Hold me, Papa!" Lottie yelled.
I picked her up, and Georgiana made a jealous face at her sister.
I met Bella's eyes, both of us laughing.
"Come sing and dance with us, Papa!" Katie entreated me, and began dancing around the garden.
"Certainly," I said with a grin.
Lottie wiggled in my arms, and I set her down so she could follow Katie, twirling around in circles.
Bella set down Georgiana, who went to join her sisters, She held my eyes, as she walked up to me, gracing me with a gentle smile.
"Hello, my love. I'm so happy you came out to join us." She put her arms around me and I hugged her back tightly.
"There's no place I'd rather be. I love you, Bella."
She placed her hand on my cheek and softly kissed me. "I love you, Edward."
I'm the most fortunate of men, I thought, with my heart so full it felt it may burst from happiness.
My overwhelming love for this good woman and our family was more than I ever dreamed of, and certainly never thought I deserved.
Life was very good for me.
Love, happiness, joy, laughter, contentment…these are not things to be taken lightly. They are, in the end, the only things that matter.
I gently touched her beautiful face as I gazed into those brown eyes, and again, thanked God for this sole reason for my being.
Surrounded by the laughter and singing of our children, I basked in her warmth, her goodness, her love…and her light.
Thanks again for reading. Reviews are love to me.
I'm starting a new story very soon, if you want to check it out.