EPILOGUE

Love & Sex & Magic

"I love you."

Somewhere drowning in the depths of the fire, I'd heard Edward say the words over and over again, though I was too in pain to respond or fully appreciate the meaning.

"I love you."

On the inside, each bone was like kindling, curling around every joint and shooting a scorching glow through each vein.

"I love you."

Flames licked at nerves and chewed away at tissues and muscles.

"I'm so sorry, Bella."

Focusing on his voice was the only way to hold onto my sanity through the torture of this internal roast.

"Forgive me."

I forgive you, I wanted to say - for what I didn't know. But within the agony, I couldn't think past the words. Please make it stop, I would've said if I'd been able to force something other than cries from my mouth. As organs and arteries and muscles danced together in a wicked bonfire, I began hearing more voices, though they were not speaking to me, sort of a discussion I'd not been invited to. Hands and arms curled around my back and underneath my knees. I was being moved, but my eyes remained shut as though the lids had been sewn tight, forced to focus on the mental images of my cremation as cartilage crumbled to powder and tendons turned to jelly.

Was this hell? I still wondered. At one point, I recalled overhearing Alice say that the transformation took three days. If this was, in fact, the transformation, it was more like three weeks, or three years.

And then I was able to examine and discern more than just the charring, to pick out each voice around me, to hear the footsteps as they echoed within earshot. I gasped as the blaze made its final descent into my heart, unleashing my lower extremities, but devouring my most vital organ whole in a seemingly endless fiery culmination...

Until it was over. All that was left was a scorch that had taken residence in my throat.

I opened my eyes to the beauty of Edward's face...in incredible high- definition detail. Apparently I wasn't in hell, after all, as I observed lines of worry etched into his forehead. No, this couldn't be hell. Because if it were, surely Edward would not be here with me. Because God would not grant me a second chance, and because there was no way the devil was this kind. Edward's eyes were like the first time I'd seen them - blackish brown framed by long lashes, minus the thirst and the ferocity. His lips held their line, as if they weren't sure whether to lift or bow. Damn, he was so fuckable that my vampire loins were a-blazing. Vampire loins. Yes, somehow, I survived the brutal blow from that vengeful blonde nomad - James, I recalled, though that bit was somewhat fuzzy. And, more importantly, my body had completed its transformation.

Although, out of the corner of my eyes, I spied the rest of the Cullens lined up in what appeared as two rows, almost like a tentative army.

That was when I instinctively hopped off my bed, leapt into a crouch position, and a hiss arose, unbidden from my throat (which was a little disturbing, since it was pure reaction) until I noted this room was familiar - I'd slept on this very bed with Edward at my side, and the figures standing at my door shared identical expressions - sympathy. I straightened as I thought to do it, realizing they were not a threat when Edward's voice spoke again.

"Bella," he said, but nothing else came out, tearing my attention away from them, away from the little fire that played at my throat, and awoke a familiar stirring from down below...again.

"Is your penis okay?" I asked him. The last time I'd seen him, that redhead had committed a serious ninja assault on his privates.

He turned then to the group around us I had not yet acknowledged. "I think she's fine."

"I think I'm fine," I agreed, nodding and then threw myself into Edward's arms, which with the force proceeded to knock him off his balance and against the wall. It had to be heaven; being inside his embrace was equal to nothing less. He was alive. He was here with me. I wasn't dead. And as far as I knew, his penis was intact. The force from my enthusiasm caught us both by surprise, and I figured it was because he hadn't been expecting it. Beyond the fog of my human memory, I still recalled never having been able to budge him from his spot.

"Bella, are you sure you're okay?" Esme asked.

His presence, his arms holding me tight as if never to let me go, his proximity was so intoxicating that I couldn't answer as my mouth sought his, and I marveled at the way I didn't have to adapt to any change in temperature. It was a pleasant surprise when Edward's tongue actually found mine. His kisses before had been so guarded, but now his palms cradled my cheeks, and the back of my knee found its home against Edward's ass. The only thing I could think of was fucking his brains out vampire-style.

There began a rush of throat clearing, and when we opened our eyes, only the ladies had left the room.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

Carlisle shot Edward a look I couldn't decipher.

"There's something we need to discuss..."

Edward turned away from Carlisle with a slight shake of his head, interrupting, "It's just that newborns can be very unpredictable, so they're here just as a precaution," he explained.

"A precaution for what?"

"You're very strong, Bella," Carlisle explained. "For the first year while the blood cycles through your body, you'll have exceptional strength."

The thought of it made me giggle. "So strong that the four of you need to be here as a 'precaution'? You're joking, right?"

"We don't want anyone to get hurt, but, no, to answer your question, two of us would be sufficient."

"But you do seem to have incredible control," Jasper observed, his expression somewhat skeptical.

"Ohhh, I'm liking this!"

"Still, you must be very uncomfortable," Jasper said, and my brow rose in question. Having Edward beside me was the complete opposite of anything relating to discomfort. Unfortunately, Jasper had to clarify. "The thirst."

Until he mentioned it, I guessed I'd put that aside, but now just the mention of it brought my palm to my throat as though the action could take away the sandpapery tingle.

"Jasper's right, Edward," Carlisle said, "take Bella to hunt."

The whole idea of hunting a deer, of sinking my teeth into an innocent animal, of giving in to an instinct sounded as foreign and frightening as the nomads ganging up on myself and Edward. But once I'd discovered the exhilaration of leaping high into the air, and running faster than a cheetah, and then preying upon the source that would extinguish the fire threatening to burn a hole in my throat was not only a relief but thrilling. Alongside Edward, watching how smooth and graceful he was as he took the deer within his grasp and drained it was even sexy.

Once I'd had my fill of a couple and he'd had his, I couldn't even wait until we returned when I tackled him on our "supposed" run home. There was still much to discover about this new life and so many things for me to learn. It was hard for me to read the hesitance in his manner and why Edward was so unusually quiet. I still kept pace with him though he was fast, but I was strong. I'd barely caught him by his feet, Victoria-style, tripping him face-down onto the ground under a canopy of trees...which after a half second he returned to standing position and was backing away from me.

"What's your hurry?" I asked, making my way toward him like a dirty cavewoman as he continued to back away from me. I must've looked hideous - wild hair, dirt, and smudges of blood on my face and body. The royal blue dress that Alice must've dressed me in was streaked and ragged - not that I cared.

"I promised everyone we would return soon. We still have some things to discuss, and like Jasper said, you do seem to have exceptional control, but it's better not to push it."

There was only one kind of pushing I wanted to do, so I planted myself in front of him, hitching my right leg up around his hip. "Edward, for the last three days, Satan has been sautéing my innards, so please give me a break. Fuck now. Talk later."

Before giving him the chance to say anything else, my mouth blocked his, and I pressed my boobs against the hardness of his chest. Though I felt some definite rigidity from Edward Jr., Edward Sr. still tried to resist and pull away, but with my fingers threaded around his neck, I bound myself to him, grinding my girl parts into him until the sublime outline of his length returned the favor.

I didn't know my strength and proceeded to literally rip the shirt away from the glorious muscles of his chest. Edward did nothing to discourage this as he peeled away the straps of my dress and left me in only a bra and panties. I wanted him to take me right then and there amidst the brush and green and dirt. Nothing was more erotic at this moment than being filthy dirty with him and rolling around like two sex-starved savages.

I leapt into his arms, once again knocking him off his stance until we were settled against a spruce. My ankles crossed around Edward's ass, and his delicious bulge ground into the thin nylon of my panties. I was drunk by the excess of sensations - the bitter but satisfying traces of blood on his tongue, the tingles that arose from his every touch, the heady sweet, otherworldly scent that was uniquely Edward.

The two of us gasped for breath, though the air felt unnecessary. However, there was one topic that had been nagging at me that I just couldn't delay, and in the midst of the lust, and the meeting of our lips, and the ripping of my undergarments, I somehow couldn't hold the words back. "You...said...you...loved me."

My hand tugged at his waistband, effectively ripping the denim from his legs and hips...and the briefs underneath.

The corners of his lips lifted. "It's true."

"No one has ever said that to me before," I breathed, still in slight shock from his admission. It was silly how giddy I felt, though something told me I would have been more than a little devastated if he'd denied it.

He was rock hard, and his fingers made short work of my panties and proceeded to stroke my swollen nub already waiting for some attention.

"I'll be happy to tell you one hundred times a day, Bella," he said, and then began punctuating the words with kisses down my neck and leading south to my boobs, "but... only... if... you're... sure...you...want... me ...to... say... it."

My fist was already working the wetness from his cock, slathering and pumping it to life as his mouth claimed my right nipple. Just the idea that Edward loved me made me flush from the inside out. Nothing could be hotter than this.

"I want you to say it," I said, but was too shy to look him in the eye. My ankles uncrossed and settled back onto the ground, and I ducked down so that I was kneeling before the sizable presence of his cock.

"I..." he began to say, until I ran my tongue over the rounded tip and then up and down his shaft. "Ohhhh."

His fingers threaded into my hair as my fist returned to the base of his penis and resumed its pumping while I took the tip and slid it between my lips then continued to suck with firm yet gentle pressure. He seemed to be at a loss for words as he moaned his appreciation, and when I looked up, I found that his head was leaning back against the tree and that his eyes were closed. I began a rhythm with my mouth and fist in perfect sync, still waiting for him to look down at me.

"Sweet Jesus, Bella," he said, his eyes opened and finally gazed down at me, the dark chocolate shade a pale amber and smoldering. "I'm not...I can't say it while you're..."

I was just amazed he could say more than two words while I loved up his member with my tongue and firmly cupped his undercarriage with my other hand.

He gasped then as I picked up my pace, and his hands settled on my cheeks. "I want to say it, but not like this." With his hands pressed against my ears, he stopped the bobbing motion of my head and withdrew himself from my mouth.

The shyness overcame me once again, this time gripping me like a noose. The absence of his cock in my mouth was more stifling than my own nakedness. I'd never been modest about my body, but with him bringing me to eye level and gazing into my eyes, holding my hands in his, I'd never been more vulnerable. I hopped into his arms once again, crossing my ankles but now pressing his warm wetness against Cleo.

"Bella," he said, but I covered his lips with two fingers.

"I want you inside me. Now," I said, clinging to him like a horny koala, but his face twisted into a grimace, and I didn't realize at first that my grip was crushing Edward until he exhaled a loud "Owwwww."

Apparently, I needed to remember my strength. With an apology, I released my supposed death grip and his expression settled into a smirk. His hands cupped my butt cheeks, and one of my arms looped around Edward's shoulder while my free hand guided his cock slowly but surely to the promised land.

And that was when he said it, punctuating the delightful, slow, deep thrusts with the words. "I...love...you...Bella...Swan."

The words skyrocketed my desire into overdrive, and by the time he'd said my last name, an expanded, quivery climax rocked my body, leaving me trembling in his arms. I quaked for another minute, wondering if this was what it was like to have an orgasm as a vampire or if this earth-shattering experience had been due to the fact that he loved me.

Turned away from him now with hands against the bark of the spruce, I pondered this as my pelvis met his rhythm from behind. He was deeper in me, but a second orgasm was the furthest thing from my mind as he edged closer and closer to his happy place.

I was truly, madly, and irrevocably in love with Edward Cullen. And after he'd pressed himself into me with the unmistakable moan of his release, I wanted to tell him more than anything.

I turned to face him, and we settled into a seated position side by side with backs against the tree and laid my head upon his shoulder. My hand found his quickly and the tingly feeling returned as Edward smiled at me.

"I love you, too," I said, feeling like a timid mouse.

"I know."

He was almost smug, and I gaped at him, robbed of the mushy tender reaction I'd been searching for.

"You didn't know!" I said, my eyebrows pulling together. "I wasn't even sure I really knew." It was called denial.

"Why do you think I like lying with you while you sleep?"

I elbowed him in the gut, not meaning to cause him any actual pain, but his hand rubbed at the tender spot while I silently reprimanded myself to be more careful.

"Bella, please remember that you're stronger than me now."

"Hey, now you're the butterfly!" I laughed.

He smiled again. "Not quite that fragile, but close enough."

"Do you think they really miss us?" I asked, now thinking that the Cullens might be actually considering whether I was a danger to anyone.

Edward's attitude had taken a 360 as he laid his head upon my shoulder. "Alice will assure them that everything is fine."

"So now you're allowing Alice to watch?"

"I don't really have a choice anymore. It was my fault, Bella. And I wanted to tell you that I am so sorry..."

"I'm not. I mean, maybe it didn't happen the way I would've preferred, but I'm still really glad it did happen."

"Still, I shouldn't have taken you that day. And I will always regret that because I was so careless, James could have killed you."

"I take it that James is dead?"

"Yes, Emmett and Jasper took care of him, but unfortunately, there wasn't anything Carlisle or I could do to fix you."

I winced at the faded memory of bones cracking with the impact of the tree and then the blinding pain that resulted. That was when I recalled the fiery redhead attacking Edward with a vengeance. "What was up with Victoria anyway?"

"When I was going through my rebellious phase about ten years after Carlisle changed me, I met Victoria. After a while, her attitude and carelessness toward taking human lives began bothering me. Needless to say, things didn't work out between us and I left."

"How long were you with her?"

"Just a little over two years."

"She seemed pretty devastated. Even after seventy years."

"Victoria always tended to be something of a drama queen."

My eyes opened wide. "I thought she was going to destroy you. What happened to her?"

He shrugged and his lips held a smirk. "It wasn't the most gentlemanly thing to do, but I beheaded her. Either Rosalie or Esme or Jasper set fire to the rest of her while Alice helped Carlisle and me find you."

"I would've killed her myself if I could have."

"You no longer need to worry about that. Now, there are bigger considerations...your parents are going to want to know what happened to you."

"Charlie and Renee," I said. "I'll be able to see them again, right?"

"I think it's best that you maintain your anger with your dad for as long as possible, keeping contact only by phone."

That seemed easy enough. There were at least one thousand and one ways to piss off my dad, even though I'd managed to avoid most of them growing up. Hell, he would probably disown me for something as stupid as saying that Edward and I had eloped...or that I was knocked up but wasn't sure who the father was. I wasn't angry with Charlie by any stretch of the imagination, and now, just leaving the way I had seemed so drastic and immature. But for now, I had to do what needed to be done. Though, I had no idea what all this self-control business everyone was talking about, I'm sure they only meant around other vampires. No one, including myself, knew how I would react to humans, and I wasn't in any hurry to find out, especially with my family.

"And as far as your mom, distance is your friend."

During our last phone conversation, Renee had brought up Florida a couple of times- something about an opportunity for Phil to play ball professionally. She'd tried to sound casual about it, but I remember the excitement in her voice. Still, with her it would be a bit harder to put her off.

My brows knitted together, and Edward pulled me in tight. "We have some time to think about it. Esme will concoct a good story to keep you excused from school and your dad off your back for now."

His fingers threaded in mine, and I took notice for the first time how our skin tone was the same shade of albino. Even more amazing was how a slice of sunlight through the trees reflected against my leg, showcasing a diagonal shadow of embedded diamonds. It was nothing less than magical. This really happened. My whole life had changed. This was the new me...and I was having trouble believing it.

I ran my fingers across my leg as though the sparkles were tangible.

"I don't know if I'll ever get used to this," I said.

Edward turned my chin toward him and gazed into my eyes, giving me a warm fuzzy feeling. "Fortunately, you have all of eternity."

My eyes met the warm amber shade of his, and my entire body bristled with desire for the man beside me. Nothing had ever been so right, and I pounced on top of him, already hungry to feed on vampire man flesh.

I smiled greedily, anticipating centuries of orgasms. I used to think that Renee settled for Phil. I mean, how else could one man satisfy all her urges? She was always going on about how much she loved him, and that never made sense to me before...that is, before I met Edward.

If she could only see me now.

Edward's fingers circled my nipples, igniting a heavenly wildfire that spread southbound. I took Jr. into my hand with loving care, my eyes giving Sr. the naughty glint. "Eternity. Nothing sounds better than that."


A/N: Well, it's over at last, though I'd anticipated another chapter, ending it on this note seemed to be the way to go. And as far as making you wait, let's just say that I would've posted a couple of weeks ago, but my betas - Giggles1991 & Camilla10 (Thanks so much to them for their help!) gave me some very useful input that prevented ending the story on a very sour note(and pissing a lot of people off in the process.) Thanks so much to those who left feedback, to those who've put the story on alert, favorited, and even recc'd it to others. Though it is over, I can't promise that there won't be an outtake in the future (can't promise there will be either), but if I happen to write one, I'll just tack it on to this story. Now, for the last time, please leave a review whether there was something constructive you wanted to point out, or whether anywhere within the contents of this story, this silly little fic made you smile. Please help me reach 200!