I couldn't let you guys down. You begged for an epilogue and here it is. I'm actually really happy with it. Once again, I own nothing Twilight, but I'm going to go out for my birthday and hang out with my friend, Pam...no, I'm not talking about myself. Her name's Pam too. I swear! I'm not that pathetic. Lol Then, when I get home, it's off to dinner with the hubby. Enjoy and please review!

Epilogue

The Journey

"It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end."~ Ursula K. LeGuin

5 years later

APOV (Alice)

Bella and I step through the door and my heart pounds in my chest at the distinct buzzing sound in the air. I remember when I came here with Bella four years ago, how nervous she was. Now I'm the nervous one.

"Ah, girls, you're just on time," A woman in her late 30's named Sue, who we met last week, calls out to us from behind the half wall of a small cubicle room where all the buzzing is coming from. I can see her warm brown hair and tan, tattoo-covered skin as she bends over with the sterile blue gloves on, pressing the tattoo gun into a guy's bicep. He's hidden behind the wall so I can't really tell what he looks like and all I can see is his arm, as muscular and as tan as the woman's arm is. He's getting a green koi fish; it looks amazing. "I'm almost done with this so go ahead and fill out one of the forms on the counter. I'll be with you in a minute."

Bella reaches for the clipboard and smiles at me as she hands it over.

"Are you sure about this?" she asks, grabbing her own clipboard. I nod my head weakly. I'm positive about this, I have been for a long time; I'm just not so positive about how much it's going to hurt.

Without hesitation, Bella signs the consent form and produces her ID to be copied and I suck in a breath, doing the same.

"All done," Sue says, washing off the smudged green ink with a paper towel. When it's all wiped down, it looks even better than it did before. I'm stunned. "What do you think?"

She holds up a mirror for the guy to look at it in and I can see his smile in the reflection, it's wide and familiar, showing pearly white teeth.

"Jake!" Bella and I both yell out his name at the exact same time and he jumps with a start, leaping to his feet.

He gives us a little awkward wave.

"Kate is going to kill you!" I tease him as Sue cleans the tattoo and bandages it.

Jake groans under his breath, probably recalling when he got his other bicep tattooed. The truth is Kate actually likes his tattoo, but she didn't react so well the first time she saw the Quileute tribe symbol on his arm two and a half years ago. She was 6 months pregnant though so it was mostly her hormones doing the talking. We weren't there to see it, but the story was epic. Apparently, she flipped a lid when she saw it, crying and then, screaming before crying again. Jake says that she threw a hairbrush at him at one point. Kate still feels horrible about it, that's what happens when you're pregnant though, it knocks your hormones out of whack. God, I hope that doesn't happen to me when Jazzy and I finally have a baby. We're probably going to start trying sometime next spring.

"She's off on assignment this weekend, but I don't think she'll freak out this time without the hormones interfering. Besides, if I go down, your husband's going down with me. He's the one who painted it and made me want the tattoo in the first place"

He points at Bella and she lets out a huff of air.

"Oh, no, you are not blaming this on Edward. Find a better excuse, Princess Cupcake."

"Wait, if you're here and Kate's on assignment who's watching Savannah?" I ask, honestly curious who would take her on.

I know it's not Jazzy, he was asleep when I left, resting up for a big civil war exam tomorrow morning, and when I picked Bella up, she didn't say anything about Edward watching her. I'm sure she would have had something to say about it too. The thing with Savannah is she's a very sweet little girl…when she's not getting into trouble. She has Kate's mischievous personality down to a 'T' and ever since she could crawl, she's been finding a way to make terror. Oddly enough, with Jake's brown hair and Kate's aqua eyes she's almost as good at getting out of trouble as she is with getting into it. Thankfully, we're all somewhat immune to the puppy dog eyes now or that girl would never be disciplined.

Jake's phone goes off and he reaches for it, his face scrunching into worry as a whiny Emmett's voice comes through the speaker, loud and clear.

"Man! Come and get your kid. She just flushed a brand new baby blue blanket and clogged up my toilet. Rosie's crying up a storm."

"I'm not crying!" Rose screams in the background, tears heavy in her voice. As I said, hormones, they're a bitch. I only know of one woman who wasn't like that when she was pregnant, and it might have been just sheer luck.

"Just 2 more months, 2 more months until this pregnancy hell is over," Emmett whispers into the phone, fear laced in his voice as if Rose is a psycho in a slasher film and he's the victim, hiding in a closet somewhere. Bella and I start laughing.

Jake hangs up the cell phone and pays Sue, waving to us as he rushes out the door, into the warm summer air of a Seattle evening. It's still somewhat light outside even though it's almost nine.

"See you guys at work!"

My nerves return immediately after he's gone. I feel like there are jittery butterflies shaking all through my body as Sue takes our consent forms, copies our IDs, and prepares the tattoo station.

"You two ready?" She asks with a sweet smile, one that reminds me so much of Esme.

That woman has become a mother to all of us; even Rose and Kate are closer to her than they are their own mothers. I suppose that's understandable. Kate still has issues coming to terms with the fact that her mother is actually her stepmother and Rose's parents live in Nevada so she never sees them. It's nice to have a woman who treats us like her own. Last time we all visited, Esme went so far as to wash out Rose's mouth with dish soap for cussing at the dinner table not once, but four times. Emmett laughed hysterically the whole time until Esme smacked him upside the head and told him to apologize. I stifle a giggle at the memory, nodding my head to the kind woman covered in ink.

I ask Bella to go first so she hops up on the massage-type table and grasps my hand in hers. Sue places the stencil on the outside of her right ankle and positions it in place, removing the paper and leaving a purple outline. Bella's all smiles as the tattoo gun starts and Sue dips it into the black ink, leaning forward to touch it to her skin, Bella squeezes my hand in a death grip.

It takes only a short time and then it's my turn. The station is cleared up and new tattoo gun parts are all taken out of their packaging. I sit on the table as Bella did and Sue places the stencil on the outside of my left ankle. My skin gets clammy, my insides shaking with anticipation as she leans into me and HOLY SHIT!

I clasp onto Bella's forearm with my free hand as the burning hot, scratching pain takes hold, and she chuckles softly

"As I recall you were worse when you got these," I snarl through gritted teeth as I press my fingers into the inked skin of her left forearm. The words 'More Than' stare back at me, running along her scar in elegant script. I know without looking that on the other arm are the words 'My Own Life'. I was there when she got those, gripping onto her hand and at one point, letting her bite my arm to alleviate the pain. She stops laughing, grasping me with both arms, smiling encouragingly at me.

"You all right there?" Sue questions with that same smile and I murmur a yes even though in my head I'm screaming no.

To distract me from the scraping fire of doom, Bella starts to talk and before I know it, we're telling Sue everything. We discuss how we met and tell her about Ms. Penny, Aro, the 'Still Life' courtyard, and how we came to be with our wonderful husbands. We talk and talk and I forget I'm even getting a tattoo.

"I can't believe you went through all that. Wasn't that hard on you both?" Sue questions, wiping down the tattoo with distilled water and spreading on some Vaseline.

"Yeah, but it was worth it," I grin at Bella, freeing her arm and admiring the ink on my ankle that matches perfectly with the ink on Bella's ankle.

It's our middle name, Marie, in a swirling feminine script surrounded by twisting vines and purple flowers. It's everything I wanted and more than I could have asked for.

We pay Sue and walk out of the tattoo shop, jumping into my Audi. It's a short drive to Bella's house, a two story colonial with white siding and green shutters. I walk her inside in hopes of saying hi to my second favorite man in the whole world.

I have to say I'm a little bummed when I walk in the front door and find Edward lying on the couch, head turned towards the television with the man I was hoping to see passed out across his chest, his soft bronze hair wild as his father's and his cute little thumb curled into his mouth.

"He's getting so big," I whisper to Bella and she nods. Little Charlie is growing fast, well on his way to being three soon, matching Edward in everything from personality to looks. I love my nephew to pieces.

Edward's eyes lock on Bella the moment she walks in the door, bright green, exuberant, full of the life that he was missing when I saw him on the street so long ago. He stands up carefully, placing the tiny boy on the couch as he mumbles in his sleep and walks over to kiss Bella and see our new tattoos. We all chat for a while and he laughs when we tell him about catching Jake at the tattoo shop. It's the sound of a baby's cry that finally tears us apart. Bella hurries up the stairs and Edward grins from ear to ear, no doubt seeing the pretty baby girl in his mind who looks just like Bella.

"Go on, I can show myself out," I say, releasing Edward so he can follow Bella and hold the tiny newborn Allison. He's as enamored with his children as he is with Bella, the fact that Ally is 2 months old doesn't wane his excitement at all. He tells me goodbye and grabs Charlie to carry him up the stairs with a smile on his face and his eyes shimmering brilliantly.

While I shut the door behind me I recall again that time when I saw nothing behind those eyes, when he was empty, Bella was closed off from the world, and I was alone and afraid. We were all frozen and still, none of us moving forward. That time is long gone now, sometimes forgotten amidst the haze of our ever-moving lives, but we never forget what it was that changed us, what made us all move and propelled us forward into a frightening unknown...It was the hope for something better, the courage to do what was right, and more than anything else, the promise of love in the end.

=D YAY! *blows party whistles* So who doesn't love birthday reviews? Definitely not me! Here's your chance to tell me if you enjoyed the story and to share a little love with the birthday girl. It's over, it's done, and I'm going to get drunk! WOO! Lol

This is Pbroken signing off for Walking Out of the Still Life. THANKS FOR READING!