Finally. My apologies to all those who were waiting for this. All I can offer is I wasn't happy with this epilogue every time I looked at it – hence the delay – but this story needed closure. Anyway I'll shut up. This is short and hopefully sweet - see you on the other side.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, that belongs to S. Meyer. I'm just playing with her toys again.
This storyline is still mine though, so please no stealing or fiddling with it without my permission
From Chapter 25
"I know, whatever lies ahead, we're in this together."
Epilogue – To Infinity and Beyond
One year later.
Without a doubt, this has been the hardest year of my life, both physically and emotionally.
Quite frankly, the separation from Edward has been excruciating. Not that kind of separation, I hasten to add. Edward and I are still very much together. But, physically there's been a bit of an estrangement.
In the end, after several sleepless nights wavering, I chose to accept the offer extended to me by Aro and Renata - it was so tempting I couldn't not. I knew if I declined I would always wonder "what if" and that doubt would hang over me for the rest of my life.
The last twelve months have been gruelling but also exhilarating. I've been living in a tiny room like a student, sometimes even sleeping in horseboxes, and training to the point of physical and mental exhaustion.
Sadly, my Olympic dreams - well those I had as an eight year old girl – haven't come true. I'm not the next big thing. But I've competed at and seen some amazing venues over the last twelve months and been part of something I never imagined possible. I even managed to earn some meagre winnings.
Edward has been my most ardent supporter, travelling with me to as many competitions as he could manage. But sometimes it was simply wasn't possible. Long hours for me combined with Edward and Jasper's business really taking off, have meant much less time for us.
My placement came with accommodation, so I've been living-in at Aro and Renata's stables. The horses have been living in the lap of luxury and even the grooms' quarters are plush but it was still a culture shock compared to my cosy little cottage. No Rose next door was a huge wrench and I must admit I was desperately homesick and lonely at times. Fed up with his sterile apartment and wanting to be closer to me however he could, Edward moved himself into my little cottage.
But now it's all change again. I moved out of my room a couple of days ago once the twelve month period was up. I was offered the chance to stay on as well as several offers to work elsewhere but politely declined. Much as I've loved my time on the circuit I knew it wasn't for me in the long term. I need a home. Roots.
The cottage has become seriously cramped. It has just the one bedroom and the living space is pretty small. It used to be enough when there was just me, my books and a fairly small selection of clothes. But now there is one major addition – Edward. All six foot two of him together with his wardrobe – man he has a lot of suits – and his possessions. It's cosy, to say the least. I haven't got around to unpacking properly and my wardrobe currently resides in a heap on the bedroom floor.
Glancing in the mirror this morning, I did a double take. I'm so much leaner and fitter than I was a year ago. Going back through my "civilian" clothes, barely anything fits properly. My skin has a slight tan from being outside so much. My hair is, frankly, a mess. I can't remember the last time I fitted in a professional haircut – I've had to resort to trimming my fringe myself with kitchen scissors - and it's permanently flat from being under a riding hat most of the time.
Why this sudden obsession with my appearance? Edward is taking me out for dinner tonight. It will be our first proper "date" in a long time. According to him we are officially celebrating my homecoming but I'm getting a sense something bigger may be afoot. He's been locked in meetings all day but this hasn't stopped him calling several times to 'remind' me about tonight which isn't like him at all. I am under strict orders to be ready by seven on the dot.
After a few moments of fruitless searching through my messy, creased pile of clothes – there's barely room to move in here which doesn't help - I sink down on the bed, heavily, in utter defeat. I've no clue what I'm going to wear. As if on cue, there's a knock at the door and I hear a familiar voice outside.
I peek out the window and there is Rose. Just the person I need to sort a clothing crisis. Hang on a minute. She's carrying two dresses, some death-trap-blister-inducing shoes and a large makeup case. Hmm, I sense a setup here. I stumble over the mess only just avoiding tripping and run down to open the door, eyeing her suspiciously.
"Rose? What's all this stuff for?"
"I thought you might need a little help," she confesses. "A little bird might have told me you have a date tonight."
Hmm, a little bird? More like a certain six foot two, bronze-haired handsome bird.
I can't stay annoyed at Edward for long though. After all, he was only trying to help and, quite frankly, I need it.
"Gah!" I gesture up the stairs toward the bedroom. "Everything's such a mess, Rose. I can't find anything. And I'm a wreck. I need help!"
Rose doesn't say anything else – she simply gets to work and within an hour I look much more polished. She's even managed to make sense of my hair, piling it up into a tousled but sophisticated-looking twist. I glance in the mirror – wow what a transformation. We're ready with time to spare so, of course, opening a bottle of wine to celebrate my return makes sense. I've missed this so. We sit and reminisce for an hour or so until she leaves me to it. All I've left to do is finish applying my makeup and slip into the outfit that's hanging upstairs. I can handle this.
I'm feeling a bit sleepy after the wine. I'm not used to drinking in the day, if at all, so I decide I'll just curl up on the sofa and rest my eyes a little. There's plenty of time left before I need to be ready, after all. I close my eyes and drift off.
I'm jolted awake by a sudden noise. What the hell is going on?
Someone's here. I can hear them moving about and cursing. I blink my eyes open, trying to adjust. My head feels foggy, I must have been out for some time.
The room is dim. The light faded while I was napping and I hadn't left any lights on. I sit up, rubbing my eyes as I blink at the shadowy figure stumbling into view. As the fog of sleep clears, I see Edward, rubbing his toe while he mumbles curses under his breath. Suddenly, something jogs my memory and the irony of the situation is just too much. The laughter bubbles up before I can stop it.
"What?" Edward eyes me suspiciously as he looms over me. "What's so funny? I don't laugh at you every time you fall over."
I reach up and flick the light switch, before there are any further accidents. I quickly stifle my giggles as he is starting to look a bit put out.
"You don't remember?" I ask, unable to shake my smile.
"Remember what? You didn't remember to put the light on." He grumbles.
I watch him as he looms over me, rubbing his foot, a scowl marring his handsome features.
I don't want this to spoil things so I act quickly to lighten the situation.
"Edward," I ask slowly "Can you remember how we met?"
"Of course I can remember how we met!" he scoffs "In Jasper's office. Oh, hang on." He finally makes the connection and starts to chuckle which soon becomes a full-on belly laugh. When he finally manages to stop laughing, he replies smugly. "We met when I was sleeping peacefully in Jasper's office and got rudely awakened by your dirty mouth."
I smile at him. We've come full circle.
Wait a minute. What did he just say?
"Dirty mouth?" I raise a brow.
"Yes, your dirty mouth. It was really quite rude. I was shocked."
"Rude?" I repeat, giving him my best attempt at a bitchbrow. Edward's expression slowly morphs from smug to somewhat dazed, his eyes a little glassy.
"Really rude. Filthy," he breathes, and the atmosphere between us starts to smoulder.
I gaze up at him and he pulls me to my feet, moving in for a kiss. Oh, how I've missed this. Edward's kisses have been way too few and far between over this past year. Our kisses soon become heated; I tackle him to the sofa and well, let's say it's a good thing I never bothered finishing up getting dressed. We never make it upstairs to the bed, re-christening the sofa instead. Followed by the floor.
After another shower, I slip into the outfit that, as predicted by Rose, takes Edward's breath away. We make it to dinner, just in time for our table. Edward is adorably cute, trying to rein in his excitement. He's bursting to tell me something, but seems determined to wait for his moment.
We linger over dessert, sharing an enormous, decadent slice of chocolate cake. I would normally rapidly devour such a thing, as chocolate is my weakness but tonight, I toy with it anxiously – my appetite seems to have deserted me. We eventually finish the cake but then Edward orders coffee. It's getting late and just as I am wondering if I had this wrong after all, that maybe Edward was just excited for us to have a date together, he reaches into his jacket pocket, telling me to close my eyes and my throat goes dry. What is it? Breathe, Bella.
"Open your eyes," he murmurs.
It's not an engagement ring. It's some strange roll of paper. He rolls it out on the table in front of me and it all becomes clear. He has blueprints to extend the cottage and make a new house, a much bigger house. A new home.
That's all folks. I will try to rein myself in before this author's note becomes longer than the epilogue itself but I do have quite a bit to say.
Writing this story has been such a fun adventure and a big learning curve for me. Huge, huge thanks go to all who supported me during this foray into the world of fanfiction, and who stuck with this little story (hopefully there are still some of you left) throughout this long road, and those who gave me the shove I needed to start writing in the first place. Even more thanks go to EMCxo and JAustenlover for sorting out my mistakes along the way. This story would not be here without you. Well it would be, but it would be a lot less legible.
I may be tempted to write an outtake for these two at some point but I would say it's highly unlikely. I do have other stories in mind but it may be some time before anything is posted. Feel free to keep me on author alert if you're still interested. If in the meantime you are looking for something to read, there are some truly great stories in my favourites
Farewell for now.