Disclaimer: Twilight is not mine. It belongs to the ineffable Stephenie Meyer.
I slowly came to, very aware of someone peppering light kisses all over my face.
"Mmm, I could get used to that," I murmured, smiling with my eyes still tight shut.
"You already are my love." Hearing his reciprocating smile, I opened my eyes to see my gorgeous bronze-haired husband smiling down at me.
"I love you," I told him, causing his grin to widen.
"And I love you, my Bella."
I suddenly became aware of a growing pressure on my bladder.
"Ugh, nature calls. I'll be glad when this sucker pops. No more Edward; I've had enough." I heaved myself out of bed and my back groaned as it took on its daily load.
"Aw, but Bella, that means no more private time." The disappointment in Edward's voice was comical, and I forced myself not to look at him so I wouldn't have to see his pout; I couldn't resist it. But I also had to hold back a flinch myself at that thought.
"We'll figure something out;" I promised, "Maybe Emmett and a couple of rocks will work."
"Bella, you wouldn't!" he cried, shocked, his hands flying to cover his sensitive area.
"Oh, I would. Make you feel some of the pain that I feel every time this happens." I gestured to my rotund stomach, then rushed out of the door as the pressure on my bladder became unbearable.
When I got back, I noticed the two other pallets in the other side of the cabin were empty.
"Where are EJ and Charlie?" I asked.
"Probably playing with the others on the beach. You slept in quite late today. And we've already got enough fruit and stuff so unless Emmett scarfed the lot again during one of his midnight snacks or Jasper is teaching them to spear-fish, that's most likely what they're doing. We'll see them at breakfast anyway."
"We're going there now right?" I asked, suddenly famished.
"Of course, my Bella, if that is what you want." Edward smiled and supported me as we slowly made our way to the beach. I couldn't believe that even after ten years, we hadn't worn a track between the 'village' and the beach, the number of times we travelled that way daily. As it was Edward had to help me clamber over fallen logs and helped clear the way for me.
"Momma!" EJ ran over to me as I emerged from the tree line, "I got a fish for you!"
"Thanks sweetie," I smiled, looking into his excited six year old face, "How did you know that was exactly what I wanted this morning for my breakfast?" Despite the fact that EJ was Edward's miniature in every way, he still had my capability to blush, and he demonstrated it then, very cutely.
"'Cause you're my momma?" he asked, shyly.
"Of course I am. And you're my EJ," I kissed him lightly on the nose as Edward took his fish and put it on the fire for me.
"Where's Charlie, EJ?" he asked.
He made a face. Playing dress up with Cora and Amy. And Aunty Alice." Alice and Jasper's two little girls were about as obsessed with fashion as a five year old and a seven year old could be when they were trapped on an island with only the clothes that Alice had made. Of course, Alice constantly encouraged them, but I personally didn't think they needed it.
"Can you go and tell them that breakfast will be ready I imminently?" I asked him.
"Soon," Edward replied, "Very soon."
"Thanks Daddy. Momma always says long words I don't understand!" and he scampered off to find his sister and cousins.
Soon everyone was gathered around the fire pit, arranged in family groups, except for Tanya and Victoria. Mike had unfortunately died about three years after we'd first arrived from one of the tropical virus's that sporadically swept through the group. Even though he hadn't been the loudest or most talkative member of our group he had still played a key part in its dynamic, and his absence was still missed. Edward had taken it especially hard, as his role as island doctor meant he felt that he was at fault for not saving him, no matter how many times everyone told him that he couldn't have helped it and it could happen to anyone. None of us were ever free of that danger, and I could never believe how lucky we were that it had only been on person so far.
Tanya always jokingly referred to herself as the crazy cat lady of the island, and despite her total normalcy and the lack of cats, she was perfectly happy. Victoria was still holding onto the hope that one day she would be reunited with her precious James, but at least neither of them never got jealous of our relationships, and it wasn't like we ever left them out of most of the group activities. They were perfectly content as they were.
Alice and Jasper were standing by Edward and our kids, with their two, while Rosalie was trying to break up Emmett's wrestling match with Carlisle Junior, their eight year old son, named in honour of the Cullens' father while their daughter Amanda, his twin looked on with an expression of disdain that could have been cut from Rosalie's face and pasted onto her little one. While CJ was similar to Emmett, Amanda was all Rose; she had her radiant blond hair, he piercing blue eyes and came complete with her attitude.
Finally there was Jake and Nessie, with their one son, Billy who was only three and who idolised EJ, trying to copy all he did.
I gazed at all our family and once again found myself wondering at our fortune. We were all healthy and our group had swelled from eleven to eighteen, and we couldn't have asked for more. The only person who still wanted to leave with all her heart was Victoria, but that was because he heart belonged somewhere else. The rest of us had realised that after ten years there was very little likelihood of us being rescued, and although we wanted our children to experience modern life, they didn't crave it, in fact they hardly noticed they didn't have it and yet they couldn't be happier. They were all sturdy young children without a trace of fat on any of them, and they all had the necessary skills to survive; how to climb a coconut or banana tree; how to chop wood; how to catch prey; how to spear a fish. I had once tried to teach them their abc's but it hadn't worked. There was just too much that was far more exciting than letters etched into the sand. Edward had asked me after why I had wanted to, as they would never need it here. We hadn't seen a single written word since our original clothes had disintegrated after only a few weeks here, and our cell phones had all been chucked into the sea as a ritual goodbye to the modern world not long after. They didn't work, and we didn't need them so they had gone.
Breakfast was a noisy, messy affair. EJ insisted on having some of my fish, which meant that Billy wanted some too, and Charlie got upset when she accidently smushed a mango into her new top and stained it, because we all knew from experience that mango stain would not come out, no matter how hard you scrubbed. But I loved it all the same. It was the picture of domestic bliss, or should that be chaos? Granted, it was on a sandy white beach with blue sea and sky instead of a family kitchen, but for me it was the epitome of what I'd wanted for my future, regardless of where I was.
After breakfast we all went our separate ways. Edward took me back to our cabin for some mandatory bedrest, even though I didn't think I needed it.
"Of course you need it Bella. You're eight months pregnant, and we don't have proper medical care here. I'm not taking any precautions."
"For Pete's sake, Edward, this is my third child here. I think I know what I'm doing."
"Be that as it may, I don't want to take a risk. Whether it is an Elizabeth or and Anthony, I want our child to be as healthy as possible, and you too. So you will stay in bed."
"Ugh, fine, but I don't like it!" I told him grumpily.
His eyes softened, "I know you don't, Bella, but I will be back soon. I just need to check the traps, and the wood stock is getting a little low for my liking. Then I will return and entertain you, OK?"
"OK." I said softly, but I knew that he wouldn't be back for ages. The traps were spread all over the island, ready to catch anything that passed through them, and I could tell that he wanted to see them all.
"And if you're good, I'll take you to our meadow later, alright?"
"OK," I said again, smiling up at him, "See you soon."
He pecked me on the lips, "I love you."
"I love you too, Tarzan." Edward beat his chest a couple of times, then picked up his handmade bow and quiver of arrows, in case we had caught some big game. A month into our new lifestyle, we had discovered that the island was also populated by wild boar, though they were very shy of humans, which was why they hadn't been found immediately. But the traps required for them were large, and needed a couple of days work, and they didn't necessarily kill them, hence the requirement for protection.
"Eddie!" Emmett boomed from outside, "Hurry up already or there won't be any killing today!" Emmett had totally embraced this way of life, and even enjoyed the bloodshed, almost as much as Rose did.
"And why won't that be?" Edward asked coolly, as I breathed an internal sigh of relief that Emmett would go along with him. Two people travelling together was always safer.
"Because they will have already died of boredom!" he cried, before bursting into hearty chuckles.
I laughed along with him, and as they walked away, I let my mind wander to back when we got married, nearly seven and a half years ago.
"Bella, you look so gorgeous!" Alice squealed, as she adjusted the wreath of vines that substituted as a tiara. "I'm so glad you stayed with us last night! Edward won't know what's hit him!"She continued.
She was right. I had managed to curl my hair in the old fashioned way; by tying strips of cloth into it. Alice had used the last dregs of her make-up that she had rescued from the boat. She hadn't worn it for years, except for her own wedding day, but that was the point. It was for special occasions, such as today.
"Are you ready to go?" Rose asked, standing next to me with her bunch of forest flowers.
I took a deep breath."I think so. There's only one way of knowing. Let's go!"
I stepped outside the cabin and saw Jacob, looking, well, like Jacob. As great as Alice's skills were at making the strangest of items work as clothing, she hadn't quite managed to sort out how to make a tux yet, so he was wearing a normal pair of shorts, as usual.
"Hey Bells, you know; you don't have to do this."
"Shut up," I said playfully, elbowing him in the ribs.
"Seriously though. No is forcing you into this."
"Jacob Ephriam Black, if you don't stop trying to dissuade me, I will walk down that aisle by myself."
Jake laughed, "Uh-huh? Good luck with that when Eddie throws a tantrum for you not being traditional."
"It's Edward," I corrected him automatically, "And I will kick him if he goes on any more about this wedding being traditional. There is very little traditional about it. Emmett doesn't know the true vows and Edward is wearing a pair of shorts, while I'm garbed in grass and coconuts. Nothing white, old, new, borrowed or blue!"
"Woah, calm down Bells. And really? Garbed? What century do you live in?"
I rolled my eyes at him, "Just get me to the beach, twerp."
Jacob laughed once last time, then aided my useless uncoordinated butt to the beach. As I stepped onto the smooth white sand, I saw my husband-to-be standing by the fire pit. He looked gorgeous; if possible he was more beautiful than the day that I had first seen him.
All I saw as I walked towards him was his face. Nothing else mattered to me. I was barely aware of Jake's arm guiding me, nor the strident cries of month-old Cora crying for her Mommy. The only thing that had my attention was Edward's piercing green eyes.
After what seemed an age, I finally reached him.
"You look more beautiful than ever my love," he murmured.
"As do you," I replied in a breathy whisper, and he leaned down to give me a soft kiss.
"Hey!" Emmett objected, "None of that yet. You have to wait until I say 'You may now kiss the bride'. Jeez."
"Sorry minister," I replied with a soft smile, thinking that it might have been a better idea to make Mike the minister again, as he had been for Emmett's and Rosalie's wedding. Edward however had insisted, asking Jake to be his best man instead.
"Well, you should know better."
"Just get on with it," Edward said, slightly exasperated. I knew why; I was impatient too.
"Fine! OK, er, repeat after me Eddie. I, Eddie Ant Masen Cullen-dawg-"
"I, Edward Anthony Masen Cullen-"
"Take this fuck-hot bitch, Bells Marie Swan-dawg-"
"Take Isabella Marie Swan-"
"To be my wifey dearest-"
"To be my lawful wedded wife-"
"Forever and ever amen, no matter what shit happens."
"Forever and ever amen, no matter what shit happens." I caught Edward's eye at that point and noticed his now familiar wicked glint. It worked; Emmett's mouth dropped open in surprise that Edward had actually copied what he'd said, and I couldn't help but laughed.
We went through the same rigmarole for my vows, then Alice made a short speech about how we should be accepting of each other and our flaws and not to go to bed angry, before.
"I now pronounce you trousered and bitch! Now you can snog baby Bells face off bro."
"Trousered and bitch Emmett?" Rose asked sardonically.
"You're right," Emmett replied seriously, "Bella wears the trousers, so technically, it should be pansy and scary Bella..."
"I give up." Rose sighed, and before I knew what else was going on, Edward's lips crashed into mine, and I was lost in him. Eventually we had to pull apart, at which everyone converged on us to congratulate us. Laughing we made our way slowly over to the camp fire and Tanya, hurriedly brushing the tears from her eyes, began to cook. As I was technically island cook, she had accepted the role of 'sous-chef', but had offered to do it for the day, so I could spend a little more time with Edward.
"I love you, Mrs Cullen," he told me, smiling at my new name as we stood a few feet away from the group, who were now giving us a 'moment'.
"I love you too, Mr Cullen," I replied, and he kissed me again, "I'm so glad we finally made it official."
"Words cannot describe my ecstasy at making you my wife." He responded.
"Hopefully you will be able to show me tonight..." I suggested, thinking of the custom made hut on the other side of the island that we would occupy for a week as our 'honeymoon'.
"Mmm, I can't wait."
I got lost in his kisses again until we were told that our meal was ready. Easy banter was bandied about until, near the end, Jake stood up.
"I know that as the best man, I'm technically supposed to talk about the groom, but we all know that actually, I was best man because of Bella. Forgive me if I don't remember this in particular, but I'm told that when I was born and Bella came to visit her new cousin in hospital, she told Dad 'Uncle Billy, he's really funny looking. His face is all scrunched up, like he's just eaten some dirt or something. I like him.' Of course, she got to compare this face to the one I made when she dared me to eat dirt a couple of years later. Apparently it was exactly the same.
"But I didn't tell you this just so you could laugh at my gullibility; I told you it because it sums up mine and Bella's relationship. We insult each other, but underneath, Bella has always been the kindest, most supportive and most generous cousin I could ever have. Not to mention her puppy eyes can make me do whatever she wants, with just one look. Edward, look out for those and try to ignore them, no matter how difficult it is.
"But seriously, I couldn't ask for a better cousin, and I know that she will be just as amazing as a wife. I mean, I know this so well that I considered marrying her for a bit, until I met Nessie! Edward, I believe that you are one very lucky man, and I'm ecstatic that you have chosen my Bells. You make her happy, and that is all I could want for her. Of course it helps that you have money too!
"But truly, you have my blessing, and I hope you have many happy years together. To Bella and Edward!"
Everyone lifted their coconuts at this and repeated it.
Alice's speech was just as funny and informative about Edward's beginnings, as she claimed that she knew Edward would marry on this very day. It too ended poignantly too. My happiness was complete, or so I thought.
After I'd assured Jake that his speech had been perfect, and that I'd cried through it because I was so happy, it was time for us to leave. The walk wasn't short, and we wanted to get there before dark, so we set off mid-afternoon, with a small sign strapped to Edward's back, inscribed with the words 'Just Married'.
This was where Edward really made me the happiest woman ever, until the morning sun peeped over the horizon.
I must have fallen asleep while daydreaming, as I was woken by a small hand shaking my arm vigorously.
"Momma! Momma!" I opened my eyes to see both my little miracles looking at me with wonder and excitement and a little fear in their eyes.
"What?" I asked, immediately worried. That they'd abandoned the beach was something to be worried about; they never left except to go to bed.
"Aunty Alice sent us. She said to get you to come to the beach. She said to tell you there was a..." Ej trailed off, searching for the word.
"Boat!" Charlie supplied.
"What?" I sat up, ignoring the complaint of my back.
"Yeah, an' it's coming to us." Charlie added, "Don't fink I like it Momma!"
"OK, sweetie, can you help me to the beach?" I asked, and she nodded solemnly, "EJ can you go and find Daddy and Uncle Em? They're looking at the boar traps."
"'Kay!" he cried and ran off.
"Come on then Charlie, let's go to the beach." I heaved myself off the bed, and we headed as swiftly as possible to the beach. Charlie was an angel; pushing branches out of the way, heaving my over falling logs and generally doing as much as we were able.
When we got there, I saw Alice standing with her girls, while Jasper was in the shallows with Jake, while Nessie stood with Billy. All were gazing at the boat which was indeed coming towards us. It was getting quite close.
"D'you know why or how they came here?" I asked Alice, having picked Charlie up, comforting Amanda, who told me that Rose had gone to look for Emmett with CJ.
"No. I want to know though. We've had so few boats come this way, and none of them have ever stopped here. The wood is quite wet though; they may have seen the smoke."
"Probably," I agreed, and wished that Edward would get back quickly. I was nervous without him. He was my rock and I wasn't sure I could cope without him.
Luckily he arrived with Emmett, Rosalie and the boys. The men plunged immediately into the shallows to help heave the small boat that had been dispatched onto the shore.
The two men in the boat jumped out to help and soon it was high and dry. I walked over to it, flanked by EJ and Charlie. Edward gave me a quick kiss as I arrived.
"Who is this?" I asked him.
"I'm Aro and this is Marcus." One said, a pale sickly looking man with jet black hair tied back said, indicating the other as he said his name. Marcus looked almost exactly the same, except he was swarthier and bulkier.
"I'm Edward Cullen. This is my wife, Bella, and children. Here is Alice and Jasper Hale, with their two, Jake and Nessie Black, and-"
"Are you Rosalie Hale?" Marcus cut in.
"Cullen now, but yes." She said curtly, trying to ignore the lusty looks he was giving her.
"So you two must be Tanya Denali and Victoria Nomad." Aro said, his face lighting up in recognition, "But where is Michael Newton?"]
"Dead," Jasper said shortly, "How do you know who we are?"
"About ten years ago, you were all over the papers. Mr Hale started a multi-million dollar search for you. Eventually, about three years ago, he finally gave up. But he was still hopeful that you were alive, or so he said in the paper. But we also know because of the flyers that continually circled among the sailors. We were told to look on every island we came to, though none of us actually thought you had survived for so long at sea. But we still learned your names and stories. Hard not to when that is all you hear about." Aro explained.
"We can rescue you now. There is enough room in this boat and plenty on the ship." Marcus offered.
We all looked at each other. Now that the day had come, we didn't know what to do. But then I thought of EJ and Charlie and the real life they were missing out on by being here. Catching Edward's eye, I saw that he was thinking the same thing.
"We'll go." We said in unison. This decided everyone else. They all quickly agreed too.
We were going home. The thought struck me as Marcus and Aro rowed back towards the ship. After ten years of living the most basic of lives we were going home; going back to what we'd grown up in.
Suddenly panic hit me. Technology had moved so fast and people changed too. Would we be able to cope in this new world we were going into? Could we re-adapt to this life?
I turned to Edward, "I don't think I can do this. The world will be too different. What if we don't fit in? I like it on the island!"
"Hush, my Bella," he soothed, "Of course it is going to be different, strange and possibly it will seem very alien to us. But what is staying the same? Us, our children, our love. That won't change, and that is what will see us through. I promise. Besides, I promised you ten years ago that we would leave the island. Maybe a little later than I thought we would, but I always keep my promises. I love you and I know we can get through this. Together."
He'd said all the right words. I calmed down, "Together." I replied.
And I knew it was true. Our love would never change, and having already overcome so much together, I knew that together we could also move onto the next chapter in our lives with our love keeping us strong, as it had for the past ten years. We could survive as we had so far. Together. That was all that counted.
Together. Bring it on.
AN: That's all folks.
So, what I have heard so far is that people want a sequel. I can tell you now that it will be fairy short, and I *gulps* will be writing another story at the same time, as this new story has been in the works for some time. WARNING: The new story will not be ExB, it will be an imprint story, as imprinting has long intrigued me. If you still want to read my work, then I am flattered.
MASSIVE thanks to my beta HopingForLove, although she promised faithfully that she would beta this chapter before she went to France, then didn't! However, I still love her, and without her, my work probably wouldn't make sense. LOVE YOU!
Finally, I recently went to a camp, and learnt about survival techniques, and I now realise that most of this story is very unlikely, if not impossible. I apologise for this, and hope that it didn't ruin the story for those who also know how to survive.
Please tell me your final thoughts, they always make happy.