fDisclaimer: Not mine…Just playing with SM's characters…
A/N: Thank you so much for reading & reviewing! I'm so glad you all liked Edward & Bella's wedding and honeymoon! :-D
Well, this is it…more thanks from me at the end.
OH! I was featured on the Avant Garde Awards Blog Author Spotlight! HUGE thanks to teamswitzerlandmom for putting together such a great article! And another HUGE thanks to eternally_addicted, sherryola, lovedwardalways, cedward2417, and Pinksapphyr for all of your kind words! I can't even put into words how thankful I am. :-D
As, always, thank you to my beta eternally_addicted. Love you, bb!
Our love would be forever
And if we die, we die together
And I, I said never
Because our love would be forever
- Muse, "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)"
3 years later
It was surreal to be standing where I was at the moment. I didn't think there was any way that the meadow would still be here, but it was. I was standing in the shade of a tree, not moving a muscle, as I waited for Bella. I could hear her, though just barely. Her lithe body made her the better hunter between the two of us, though I was faster. I smiled as I heard the rapid heartbeat of the deer she was hunting. The deer knew we were near, and its terrified heart was giving away its position.
Bella and I were just outside of Rome, Italy, and I was standing on the edge of the meadow that started it all. It was the meadow where we had met, and the meadow where we had been cursed. I hadn't expected it to still be here, but here it stood, untouched by time. The castle I had once lived in all those centuries ago had been destroyed when my family fell. The small village that Bella had grown up in was gone, falling when my kingdom had. There was now a getaway hotel on the location. Bella and I had decided to stay there as we visited the place where we had truly been born…our beginning.
The first year of our new life was much as Carlisle had said it would be. We'd had to get used to our thirsts as well as our new powers. Bella had a lot more trouble adjusting to controlling her power and trying not to overhear the private thoughts of our friends and families. We also discovered an added element to my own shielding power. It wasn't limited to myself, and with help from Carlisle and Eleazar—and Alice watching the outcomes of their decisions— we were able to discover that I was able to lift my shield in order to encompass others and protect them as well. It drove Alice crazy when I played around and blocked her from seeing Bella's decisions. Bella didn't find it funny all the time, but it had been handy a few times.
When Carlisle decided it was time for us to try and interact with humans, Bella and I were both a nervous wreck. We took advice from everyone. Jasper told us not to breathe, Alice reminded us to blink once in a while, Emmett said to not touch anyone, and Carlisle reminded us to not move too fast. Esme and Rosalie stayed back with our parents and Garrett. They still didn't feel like they were comfortable enough to try and interact with humans. Bella and I got a few strange looks, but otherwise our first trip into town had been successful. However, poor Jasper's nerves were shot from the nervous tension between Bella and me.
After Bella and I had become comfortable venturing into town and interacting with humans, we decided it was time for us to try and venture out on our own for a little while. Bella wanted to see the world and I promised her that we would. Rosalie and Emmett were going to take their own trip to reconnect after their time apart, as were Bella's parents. By the time Bella and I had left, we weren't too sure what everyone else was doing, but we all ended up with international cell phone plans, courtesy of Carlisle. Each of us promised to check in with each other via email if we couldn't use our phones. Carlisle also gave me and Bella's families money in order to travel and set up our own means. We all protested at first, but when Carlisle explained—as did the rest of the Cullens—that they had more wealth than they knew what to do with, we all had accepted his offer. I was still trying to figure out a way to pay Carlisle back.
So, with that, our little group spread out all over the world, but home for now, was still in Alaska. It was our central point as we fanned out and went our separate ways. It was a silent agreement that we would all be back at one point or another. We couldn't have Alaska be a home base forever, and Carlisle had mentioned before that he wanted it to be a family decision as to where we would call "home" next.
The spot where my dormant heart lay warmed at the thought even though it no longer beat. Carlisle thought of all of us as a family. He included me and Bella's parents and Garrett in that, which was what made my heart feel almost alive again. We had all been apart for so long…and it was nice to know that we would be together again forever. I smiled, but didn't make a noise as I heard the deer's heart rate accelerate even further. It wasn't moving, but I knew any second it was going to make a run for it. Bella would never let it get away. She was too good of a huntress. Carlisle often wondered if Bella's ability to track her prey was another ability that she brought from her human life as she spent many centuries trying to find me. However he'd also said it was unheard of for vampires to have two gifts.
Bella's control of her gift amazed me. I knew that it still bothered her from time to time, but when we were alone, miles away from civilization, she found peace, and it was rare that I ever dropped my shield. I had promised to always provide her comfort, and shielding my thoughts from her gave her that. Though, I did drop my shield from time to time.
"You're going to give the poor deer a heart attack if you keep this game up," I thought, dropping my shield. Bella made no noise in response, but I knew she heard me.
Our journey to Rome had been a long one, and we had been here for nearly a month now. I knew soon Bella would be wanting to move on and see more of the world, but I also knew that she was starting to miss the familiarity of home. On our travels, we visited all the places that we had once lived together. Texas had been our first stop, and Alice and Jasper had actually accompanied us on that one. They were also heading down to Biloxi when they were done. Through information from Garrett, Alice was able to learn that she actually had a living relative, a niece named Cynthia. We roamed through Texas with Alice and Jasper, Jasper and I showing the girls what we remembered of our time there, and me showing Jasper things from his human life that he had forgotten. Visiting the site of our old home in Texas had been particularly hard for Bella. In that lifetime, she had truly thought the curse had been broken when I returned to her near death from the war. I had survived and we were going to have a family of our own. It was hard to relive, but Bella and I comforted each other through it all.
After parting with Bella and me, Alice and Jasper headed down to Mississippi and Alice was able to meet her 90 something year old niece. Jasper, having found his own sense of peace for his human life, was looking forward to helping Alice do the same. According to Jasper, his power had been put into overdrive between the two women. Cynthia's caretakers said she had dementia, and when she said Alice looked just like her grandmother, they wrote it off as an old woman babbling nonsense. Alice on the other hand, was able to find some peace from her human life.
Bella and I traveled to London, England next. We couldn't spend too much time in Texas due to the weather, but rainy, cloudy London was perfect. We ended up staying for months, exploring the entire country and also visiting places in London from our time there. We even met with Emmett and Rosalie who were also traveling through Europe. Through all of the commotion of me and Bella's changes and managing two newborns plus trying to convert human blood drinkers into "vegetarians", which had been trying for everyone, Emmett and Rosalie hadn't really had a chance to mend their relationship. When we met them in Newcastle however, things looked to be mended and Rosalie was happier than I had ever seen her.
In Spain, Bella and I spent another several months exploring the country, as well as revisiting where we once lived. Our little stream was still there, nestled in the untouched woods, and we couldn't help but take a swim. Of course, Bella coaxed my "snake" out to play for old time's sake. We spent our days roaming the country, occasionally interacting with locals as we made purchases and sent gifts back home to our families in Alaska. I was happy to say that the only bed we broke was in Spain, and fortunately the concierge just smirked at us as Bella and I explained my…zealousness. Emmett was tickled by the fact that Bella and I were building up a reputation as a two man wrecking crew.
After leaving Spain we found ourselves where we were now, in Italy. I smirked as I heard Bella deliberately snap a twig. The deer took off and I saw it run into the meadow. Bella was on it in a second, leaping from a tree with all the grace of a bird of prey and pinned the beast down. Her teeth sunk into the deer's flesh instantly. Watching Bella hunt wet my appetite in more ways than one. I crossed my arms across my chest, my fingers digging into my palms, in a vain attempt to make sure I didn't act on one of those appetites. Bella released the deer body, which landed with a thud, and swiped away the trickle of blood on her lips.
I growled and was at her side in a second, unable to hold myself back any longer. Bella simply grinned up at me, my chest heaving with unnecessary breaths and soft growls.
"Mmmm…" Bella hummed, "That was fun."
I buried my face against her neck, running my nose up her skin. There were times were our animalistic tendencies just took over completely. They had been incredibly hard to control at first…especially when Bella and I first started interacting with humans. Bella ran a hand through my hair as she pressed the side of her face against mine in an affectionate gesture.
"Do you need to feed more?" Bella whispered.
"Not that kind of hungry..." I thought, dropping my shield.
Bella gasped as I left my shield down and began to replay my memories of us in a clearing in Alaska the first time she and I had been permitted to go hunting alone together. The frozen ground had no affect on our bodies, and after watching Bella take down a large wolf, I practically ravaged her in the snow, destroying all of our clothes in the process. We had to run back to our house as fast as possible and avoid any family members. We got teased quite often about our insatiable ways, but it was Esme who diplomatically put it as, "they are making up for lost time."
After making up for lost time in our meadow that started it all, Bella and I lay in the grass, our clothes lazily thrown back on, and watched as the colors in the sky changed, signaling the end of another day. Time had become a strange concept now that we neither slept nor aged. Bella was curled around me with her head on my chest while my hand was slowly trailing up and down her spine. She sighed heavily and burrowed closer.
"What are you thinking about, love?" I asked, a chuckle in my voice. Bella was always affectionate, but there was something weighing on her mind.
"Can you shield me?" She said quietly.
I did as she asked. It was rare when Bella asked, and usually it was so a certain vampire wouldn't be able to take a peek at our futures.
"All right, love…what's on your mind?"
"Well…" Bella drew out, leaning up to prop herself up on her elbow, "First of all, have I told you how grateful I am that we discovered this part of your power?"
I couldn't help but smirk. "I think you might've mentioned it once or twice."
Bella grinned back. "Well…I was thinking about something today."
I chuckled, choosing to speak out loud now.
"Bella, thousands of thoughts go through our heads every second. You're going to have to be a little more specific."
She poked me playfully in the ribs.
"I'm being serious!"
"All right! All right!" I cried, holding up hands up in surrender. "Tell me your thoughts, beautiful."
Bella bit her lip as she seemed to mull something over, and I couldn't help but think that she almost looked human in that moment. I had seen her perform that nervous habit countless times over the centuries. All that was missing was her blush, which I admittedly did miss quite a bit.
"I…" Bella started out slowly. "I was thinking that maybe we could head home?"
She asked it as more of a question, and I knew that she didn't mean that she wanted to head back to our hotel for the night. I sat up slowly so that I could look at her eye to eye, and cupped her cheek softly, letting my thumb brush over the apple of her cheek.
"You want to go home?"
Bella nodded. "I…well, not that I haven't been having the best time alone with you and seeing where we once lived, but I…I…"
"You miss everyone," I finished quietly.
"It's strange," Bella said, her hand moving to toy with a button on my shirt. "I…I almost feel like a child in this life, even though we're both so far from being children. I feel like I still need to reassurance of our families, and I need that closeness."
"I understand," I said with a nod. I hadn't brought it up, but I was starting to feel a pull back towards the States. I knew that pull would inevitably lead us back to Alaska.
"You don't mind?"
I looked up into Bella's golden eyes and smiled. "No."
My smile spread wider into a grin that took up my whole face.
"You want to surprise Alice don't you?"
Bella smirked at me. "Why else do you think I had you shield me?"
I leaned forward and pressed a kiss to her lips. "We'll surprise them all."
After deciding that we wanted to leave as soon as possible, I kept Bella encompassed by my shield as we stood hand in hand and began to walk back towards our hotel. I stopped when I felt Bella pull back. When I turned, she was looking over her shoulder at our meadow. I smiled softly.
"We'll be back one day, Bella."
She turned, her beautiful eyes meeting mine. Even though they weren't the deep brown that I had loved for all time, I could see the love I did know shinning back at me.
"Do you think it will always be here, Edward? I…I'm going to miss this place," Bella said quietly, almost afraid.
I pulled her close to me, wrapping my arms around her.
"I have a feeling that there's something magical about this meadow. It'll be here forever, and we can always come back to it any time you want."
"Do you promise?"
I leaned down a pressed a soft kiss to her lips.
"I do," I whispered.
Bella and I stood there a few seconds longer, watching as the purples and blues of twilight descended upon the clearing. I let go of her waist and laced my fingers back through hers. I placed a kiss on top of her hand before we started walking through the forest again.
"Come, my love…we have plenty of adventures still ahead of us."
Bella sighed softly as she pressed herself against my side. We had experienced so much in our new lives, and were fortunate that unlike the others, we didn't have to say goodbye to our human memories.
Forever I would remember meeting Cigna in this meadow in Italy.
Forever I would remember the feel of the Spanish stream's cool water against my skin.
Forever I would remember seeing Marie standing with me as Carlisle married us.
Forever I would remember returning to Belle's side, traveling through most of Texas to do so.
Forever I would remember the moment that I remembered everything…the moment where Edward and Murato became one.
Forever I would remember being reunited with my family, and finding peace for the first time in centuries.
I knew what it felt like to not remember, to not understand why I felt different, or why things seemed familiar when they shouldn't. I glanced at the beautiful woman walking at my side. I knew what it felt like to forget her, and to forget myself. Never again would I forget the love and joy I had in my life thanks to the woman I loved for all time. Forever, I would remember me, and remember us.
Well? Yes? No? Sniff sniff…I can't believe this one is done! And no, I don't have plans for a sequel, but I never say no to an outtake or two if they're wanted. :-D
#1. BIGGEST THANKS EVER to eternally_addicted! She held my hand through all of this craziness, encouraged my ideas, suggested some of her own, and made sense of my messy first drafts! THANK YOU, BB! I can't say it enough!
#2. HUGE THANKS to all of you who have EVER read, reviewed, put this story on alert, added it to your favorites, PM'd me, sent out Tweets, nominated me for awards, wrote about me on blogs or Facebook…seriously, THANK YOU TO YOU ALL! Your support kept me going :-D
#3. I wanted to remind you all that "Remember Me" has been nominated for TWO Tomato Soup Awards (for Best Original Plot and Best Fluffy? Story), AND my lovely beta eternally_addicted has been nominated for Best Beta, AND my story "Whatever It Takes" has also been nominated for Best Story That Keeps You Up All Night (I think that's what it was called). Anyway, I would love it if you voted for me, but also just go take a look at the nominations. I'm sure more than one of your favorite stories are nominated :-D
#4. Well, this is it! I can't say thank you enough, so I'll just say it one more time. THANK YOU! Please let me know what you though, good or bad, pretty please? And maybe I'll give you a look at what I have planned for my next story :-P