Five Years Later

"Hurry up, Lateward!" I yelled. Gosh darn it, we were gunna be late for Alice and Jasper's wedding if he didn't hustle his bustle. "Seriously, dude. We're gunna be ridiculously late. Alice will have my head on a platter."

"I'm coming," he said breathlessly as he ran down our stairs, tying his tie. "I'm here, let's go."

I giggled as I followed him outside and into the Volvo. Yeah, I gave up my classic truck for the "safer" vehicle. Psh. Whatever. My truck was a friggin' tank. But, Edward said it was a death trap, so I let him have his way.

"You take longer than me to get ready," I pointed out with a grin. "You're such a woman, Edward."

Edward scowled out at the road. "Just because I'm not naturally drop-dead gorgeous like you doesn't mean you can make fun of me. Meanie."

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah. Drop-dead. I make everyone drop dead with my looks. That sounds about right."

"Oh, shut up, you silly, silly girl," Edward murmured with a smile. He grabbed my hand and brought it up to his lips, brushing them over my knuckles. "You're the most beautiful girl in the world."

"You're so biased it's not even funny," I grumbled mockingly.

We arrived at the church in a nick of time. We took our seats beside Emmett and Rosalie just before Alice walked down the aisle towards Jasper, who was smiling so widely, I thought his face was going to split open.

The service was short and sweet, just how I liked it. Alice only had her older sister as her bridesmaid, and Jasper had his cousin as his best man. It was a small wedding, which I loved. I didn't have to deal with all of our old classmates coming up to me and asking how I was doing, what job I had, whether I was still with Edward, and how Carlie was doing.

Yeah, those questions definitely got annoying after the fiftieth time.

I basically answered the same every time: "I'm fine, thank you. I'm working at the private school in Port Angeles as the student counsellor, and I make enough money to be more than happy. Yes, I'm still with Edward. No, we aren't married yet, but we are engaged and living together. Carlie's doing perfectly fine. She just started Kindergarten. I haven't seen her since I gave birth to her, but I receive pictures all the time. She's lovely. How are you doing?"

It was a mouthful, I tell ya.

Edward and I stayed in the only motel Forks had after Alice and Jasper took off for the honeymoon in England. Rose and Emmett were still living in Forks, working for Rose's dad in the autobody shop. Turns out Rose has a wicked knack for fine tuning vehicles. Who would'a thunk it?

We made sweet, sweet love in our shitty motel room. Ha, just kidding. Edward was too disgusted by the stained sheets to even get under the covers, let alone take off his clothes. We both slept in full outfits. We even held hands so we wouldn't touch the dirty bed. Awful at the time, but hilarious later.

Edward and I decided that that weekend would be the best weekend to go visit our daughter for the first time. We phoned Dr. C. and Esme, and they were both totally stoked for us to come on down to hick town to visit Carlie. We decided it'd be best to hold off on the whole Luke-I-am-your-father talk for now. Edward and I would just be random visitors. But, sooner or later, she'd know. Dr. C. and Esme wanted to know who her real parents were.

We drove to the ol' Cullen Castle the next day after we visited my dad and Sue briefly. Edward's parents were on vacay in the Bahamas for now, but I wasn't too disappointed that we didn't get to see them. Well, Mr. Masen at least. He was still on my shit list. He was even higher on Edward's shit list.

"I'm scared," I admitted after Edward shut off the car.

"So am I," Edward murmured, staring at the large house in front of us. "This will be the first time I'll ever get to see her in real life."

I grabbed his hand and smiled at him reassuringly. "It'll be okay."

"As long as you're here, it will be," he replied, returning the smile. "Let's do this."

We got out of the car and walked up to the front door, knocking, and then fidgeting while we waited for someone to answer.

A little girl with auburn hair and brown eyes flung open the door with a gigantic smile. She was missing her two front teeth. She had dimples. She was perfect.

"Hello," I murmured in a quivering voice. "Are you parents here?"

The girl nodded, and yelled over her shoulder, "MOM! SOMEONE'S AT THE DOOR FOR YOU!"

Edward chuckled, but when I looked up into his eyes, I noticed tears.

Esme came to the door with a gigantic smile. "Hello! I'm so happy you guys decided to come!" She motioned for us to enter the house.

We stepped in and took off our shoes and jackets, taking turns hugging Esme, and following her into the living room.

"Carlie, why don't you introduce yourself to my friends?" Esme requested of her daughter with a gentle smile.

"Hello," Carlie greeted shyly, her hands behind her back. She looked up at us through her eyelashes and Edward sucked in a breath. "I'm Carlie Cullen; it's a pleasure to meet you."

I knelt down to her eye level. "Hello, Carlie. I'm Bella Swan."

"Hi, Bella," she replied, swinging her upper body back and forth.

"This is my fiancé, Edward," I continued, pointing up at Edward and smiling at him.

Carlie just blushed and looked down at the ground with a smile when Edward smiled at her. Well, there ya go. She did have a little bit of me in her.

"Carlisle won't be home until later," Esme told us as we sat down on the couch across from her. "He tried to get away from the hospital, but Jessica Stanley went into labour this morning, and things aren't exactly moving quickly."

"Leave it to Jessica to make things dramatic," Edward commented with a smirk.

Esme laughed, and said, "Oh, Edward. Don't be saying things like that."

Edward just shrugged and continued to smirk as he put his arm over the back of the couch, around my shoulder.

"I'm going into Kindergarten," Carlie announced proudly, bringing the attention back towards her.

"Really? That's exciting," I replied with a grin. "Do you have all of your school supplies?"

Carlie nodded enthusiastically before bolting off somewhere and returning with a backpack and a large plastic bag. She showed us everything. Every crayon, eraser, and pencil. It didn't matter that they were only school supplies, she had me completely captivated. She was charming and smart. I was so happy that I decided to get to know her.

We stayed for supper and caught up with Docta' C. and Esme for a while before heading back to our shitty hotel.

"You know, I think we would've been good parents for her," Edward said as he closed the door behind us. "She's so much like you... She's got your eyes and your smile... And she's quirky and loud, too." He grinned at me.

I rolled my eyes. "She's got a lot of you, too. Her hair... It's the exact same as yours. And her skin," I raised an eyebrow and smirked, "it's super pale, just like your pasty ass. Except Carlie can pull it off, and you can't."

Edward stalked towards me. I crossed my arms and tilted my chin up, daring him to argue with me.

"You're not so different, ghost girl," Edward murmured, bowing his head so that his lips were against my forehead. "I'd say that's something we have in common for sure."

I leaned forward and kissed his Adam's apple gently.

"I love you," I whispered against his skin.

"I love you, too," Edward sighed into my hair. "When're we gunna make this official, Bella? I mean, being engaged is great, and I'm happy, but I want more now. I want to put another ring on your finger. I want to move out of our little apartment and into a house so that we can think about having more kids – kids that we can keep."

My eyes filled with tears. Yeah, I was a little shell-shocked after seeing Carlie, too. At the time, she hadn't felt like mine. I was simply a vessel for Carlisle and Esme's kid. But now... After seeing all the similarities between her and Edward and I... Things changed. She was mine, in blood and in personality. She belonged in Esme and Carlisle's life, but she was a part of me. She always would be.

"Let's set a date," I murmured. "Let's do this. Let's have our wedding in June or something. When I'm out of school."

Edward smiled at me so widely I thought his face was going to split into two pieces.

"Okay, June it is," he agreed. "You know, that leaves us time to have another baby..."

I immediately shook my head. "No. Not 'til after we're married. You can wait another ten months. Let's do things in order this time, 'kay?"

Edward nodded, still smiling as widely as his lips would allow.

"Whatever you say, babe," he said. "Just as long as you're mine."

"I am," I replied with a smile. "And you're mine."

"Of course. Forever and ever."

Happiness wasn't a strong enough word to describe the emotion I was feeling in that moment.

So, there you have it. The end of TBL for real. I'll do a different epi for Edward's story. Maybe the proposal, maybe the marriage, maybe after they've had another kid or two or seven... Who knows? I'm still writing Learning to Breathe.

However, I will be posting the first chapter of LtB tomorrow. And, then, I'll post every second Wednesday until I can sit down and finish the danged fic. Then, it'll be every Wednesday! Hump Day, woohoo!

Thank you all so, so much for reading and sticking with me. A special thanks to Kassiah for giving a little shout-out on the Fictionators! I appreciate it so, so much! Thanks to everyone coming and greeting me on Twitter. I answer every mention. My life would not be complete without all of you, and I love to share the love.

xoxo forever,