Chapter 25


Wind whispered. Curtains danced. The soft, morning sun poked through the hospital room and kindled the bright color of the walls. It was one of the most enchanting mornings the city had seen in ages, the sun out, the skies clear. The young, teenage mother in the hospital bed, however, didn't spare the weather a second glance. Her eyes were completely for the newborn child in her arms.

It was such a peaceful scene, I suddenly wanted nothing more than to take Gareth and get the hell out of here before she'd notice. But I knew, deep down, there was no turning back. Gareth had me convinced, and I didn't think it would ever be possible to tug the blonde out from the doorway.

"It's a girl," he murmured out loud, like a simple statement. "She has her mother's red hair."

I felt a jerk in my heart at Gareth's tone. I couldn't tell if he was just shocked, or really didn't know how to portray his real emotions. He talked with me about Triona all the time; I knew how much she meant to him. Her and the child.

"She looks happy," I briefly noted.

Gareth turned around to look at me, his golden eyes ringing. "Can I see her?" his voice choked.

I let myself swallow and take in the scents of he humans, listening to the heartbeats. Triona's blood wasn't all that mouthwatering. Nothing special. "I haven't had a human since we left the cabin," he pressed. "I can control it. I'd never hurt her. I promise."

I smiled sadly at him. Just like Edward could never hurt me. I wasn't sure if I could completely stake my life on Gareth's intentions, but I finally agreed, as long as I could stay close to him if he lost it. "One time," I sighed. "Just because she has no one else at the moment."

Gareth agreed, and he slowly inched into the room, his eyes fastened on the young mother. I remained outside, but leaned against the doorway, watching. Triona lifted her head.

Her heart raced uncontrollably as she struggled for breath, speechless. Her eyes blinked a series of times. "Gareth?" she breathed.

I wasn't facing the blonde vampire, but I could tell he was smiling genuinely. His hands nervously dug themselves in his pockets, and part of his blonde hair was swept with the wind. Triona's eyes filled with happy tears, and Gareth rushed to her side, kneeling next to her.

"I thought you were gone," her voice trembled, as Gareth stroked her hair. "I thought… I thought-"

"Well, think of this now," he said affectionately. "I'm never going to leave your side again."

My head jerked up to look at him in bewilderment. So much for one time. I should have seen this coming. By the way they were gazing into each other's eyes, there was no way I could separate them. Vampire or not. It was the first time I had ever seen Gareth shine so brightly with happiness.

"Your eyes," she finally noticed, touching his hard- cold face.

He held her hand softly. "I know. I've… changed, a bit."

"Is it permanent?"



"It doesn't matter," he said seriously. "It changes nothing concerning my feelings for you."

She gave him a watery smile, before slowly handing him the baby in her arms. I tensed in the doorway, ready to spring at the first notice. But Gareth accepted her easily, smiling when the baby gave a shriek of annoyance. He held the baby's gentle hand in his own. "Amazing," he murmured. "Are you planning on keeping her?"

"My aunt is all I have left now," Triona shifted in the bed. "She can barely afford me. No, I found a nice couple that wanted to adopt her. They're really good people, Gareth. They'll take good care of her." She stared at the baby.

Gareth looked back at her. "Is it an open adoption?"

"They offered," Triona answered. "But I declined. It's better she stick to one mother instead of two, especially since I can't take care of her properly. It would be too stressful for her." She touched the baby's bright hair.

Gareth seemed to agree with her. "Yeah," he said. "She deserves the best."

I watched the young couple awkwardly, shifting my weight as I crossed my arms. Triona caught my movement like a hawk eye, and I didn't even bother trying to hide. "Oh, that's Bella," Gareth explained. "She's a good friend of mine. I wouldn't be here today without her."

Triona gave me a warm smile. "It's nice to meet you."

"Yeah, you too," I returned her smile. "Gareth, I'll be down the hall if you need me."

"Sure, Bells."

I quickly departed from the scene, eager to give the kids some space. I trusted Gareth enough now, he couldn't do much damage without me hearing. Somewhere along my path to the waiting room, I heard Triona whisper. "She's really pretty."

"Tell that to her boyfriend," Gareth laughed. "He only tells her that every five seconds!"

I smiled to myself. Oh, Riley.

Bree was the only one left standing outside the hospital when I came to check. Her hands fidgeted with her coat strings, hiding her pale face under a hood. We couldn't get caught leaving our sun exposed in the sunlight. "Well?" Bree asked, once she caught my eye.

I grinned slightly. "It's a girl."

"Cute," she murmured. "You left Gareth up there with them?"

"It's just Triona and the baby," I assured. "He's not going to hurt them, he's gained my trust. Where's Fred and Riley?"

"They went into the sports store down the street," Bree said casually. "I think they're planning on getting baseball stuff for your own personal torture." She grinned evilly. "Ever since that game with the Cullens, Fred's been itching to play more."

I rolled my eyes. "Of course he has. It's Riley I'm worried about."


"If he gets into sports, then I'm a goner. I hate sports."

"Oh, lighten up," Bree smirked. "You weren't half bad as infielder."

"Oh, you mean the job where you just stand there and don't do crap because everyone always hits the ball to the next country?" I retorted, scoffing. "Yeah, I was great at that."

Bree laughed. "Did Gareth say when he was going to leave?" she asked. "Those clouds can only cover the sun for so long, we need to hit the road soon."

I sighed. "It was a mistake bringing him here. He's not going to leave her."

"Did he tell her-?"

"Pretty much. She knows something's different, but she doesn't seem the least bit affected. I wish I was that aloof when I found out about vampires."

"Well, it was worse for me," Bree disagreed. "I found out while I was being transformed! Worse experience of my life…"

"Isn't it for everybody?"

We remained standing outside for the next half an hour, looking like freaks in jeans and hooded jackets when it was perfectly beautiful and sunny outside. A few homeless people and crying individuals poked around next to us, eating hospital food and waiting for the fates of their family members and friends. Fred and Riley never returned, and Gareth remained in Triona's room from the angle of his scent.

It was only when a flashing police car pulled up next to the ER did things start sparking up.

I had barely enough time to turn around, but I did anyway, hiding my face and keeping my back to Charlie. However, from the looks of that situation, he wasn't even thinking of looking my way to begin with. An extremely panicked mother hopped out of the car with him, and they both helped out a child crying with a bleeding arm. The mother was trying to calm him down while they staggered into the building, and Charlie tried barking out his own idea of instructions.

Bree flashed me a solemn look once they were gone. I felt frozen on the spot, my heart taking another painful lurch. Every time. Every time it hurt seeing him. The bags under his eyes had been noticeable. He still looked as pained and distraught as he did at the diner.


"Are you sure you can't talk to him once?" Bree's own feelings got the best of her. "It doesn't seem right that you can never talk to him. To always have him in such pain. For life."

I continued staring at the glass doors to the ER. Bree's words cut like daggers. I felt every bit as bad for Charlie as he probably did for not being there to protect me. It wasn't fair.


My eyes closed. "No. I can never approach him. He can never know," the words were hard to get out. "It would freak him out beyond belief, and the Volturi would have a festival getting rid of all of us. I should've known the consequences when I took off that night. Charlie can't pay the price for my actions."

"He's already paying for it," Bree pointed out, crossing her arms. "I think he rather be dead, at this point. I know I would, if I were able to have kids. It's so much guilt. Are you sure there isn't any way to contact him without showing yourself?"

"He'll want to know where I am if I call him," I confessed truthfully. "He'll want me to come back home, and I just can't do that. I can't live with a human and never plan to change him. Aro's rules."

Bree stopped putting effort into it after that. Charlie remained inside the hospital, and sat with the mother for a few minutes, trying to assure her of her son's well being. He did it half heartily. He was always a bit awkward around those kinds of things, especially when it involved crying girls. I found myself smiling through the glass.

Slowly, I pulled out a stuffed, unused napkin in my jacket pocket and began smoothing it back in position. I headed back to Bree. "Hey," I said. "Still have that pen?"

She immediately started digging in her pockets, until she pulled out a lanky blue pen with a company name crested on the side. One she handed it to me, I pressed the napkin against the hospital wall and began writing after testing how much ink was left.

"What are you doing?" Bree frowned.

I tossed her the pen back, before heading towards Charlie's police vehicle. Once it was clear he wasn't looking, I stuck the napkin under his windshield wiper before walking back. "Just left him a note," I shrugged. "I think he deserves to at least know I'm alright."

"Did you say you were coming back to him?" Bree demanded. "Did you leave your name and say what you were?"

"Nope," I hooked her elbow with mine, leading her down the road to the sport's store. "I just said not to worry, and that I was okay. I didn't sign my name, but I said 'dad' somewhere in there. He'll know it wasn't a scam. He knows my handwriting."

"Why are we walking away?"

"He's coming in a second," I merely explained.

Sure enough, when we were far down to the end of the road, Charlie exited the glass doors and began fumbling with his keys. I watched worriedly as he got into his car and started it, not taking a brief glance at the napkin. I thought for a horrifying second he was going to miss it, but eventually he noticed it, and automatically stopped the car. He slowly lifted the windshield wiper and examined the note, reading it with dreary eyes. I could feel his heartbeat increasing.

"Did he read it?" Bree asked.

I merely smiled at her. Charlie read the note over and over again, his eyes moving like bugs until finally, he lifted his head and started scanning the parking lot for me. I was clear out of his vision line, and it hurt that he couldn't see me, but in that very moment, I think we had an understanding. His eyes suddenly filled with tears of relief as he tucked the napkin neatly in his coat. He knew I was okay.

Bree hugged me happily, and I returned it. "C'mon," I told her. "Lets catch up with the boys and see what crap they're planning on spending all our money on." She agreed, and we both headed back down the sidewalk. I turned around once more, though, and watched the last of Charlie's car disappear down a road and around a corner. For some reason, I knew that was going to be the last time I'd see him and that car for a very long time. I could just tell.

"Bye dad," I whispered.

It took a while to finally get Gareth to come back with us. And when I meant a while, I meant three weeks. Gareth was there for Triona when she got home with the baby, and when they handed her to the couple. He was there when she was recovering, and fed her back to health. It truly was amazing how much heart that little fourteen year old kid had.

The five of us ended up hanging out near Triona's hometown for the next two years. It was just impossible to separate them, and I honestly didn't have a problem with it. Bree and I would catch them walking off holding hands when we went hunting for animals, and Gareth always waved us off in an irritated fashion when we made a comment. Triona's aunt died when she was sixteen. And that was the year she became one of us, and we left the city.

The Volturi never sent guards after us or came to destroy us. Instead, I personally went to Italy and spoke to the three leaders about it. My voice had been trembling, and I was nearly shaken with fear for how everything would turn out. But my new instincts as a clan leader set in, and I was able to explain everything I could to Aro.

"And what about your clan's diet?" he asked elegantly.

"Animals," I answered. "Just animals."

"Just animals," Aro repeated, studying me. "Like the Cullens?"

"Yeah," I nodded once. "We visit them often. They're the closest thing we have to an alliance."

"So I would think," Aro mused. "It would be very unlike Carlisle to refuse help to such a delightful creature. I must wonder, however…" Aro leaned forward in his throne and I stiffened. "If you would consider becoming allies with us as well?"

I gaped. He was letting us off that easily?

Jane stood near his throne in silent rage. If it weren't for Aro being her master, I was sure he would've been shred to pieces with her eyes by now. "What are you playing at, Aro?" the blonde one, Caius, demanded with dagger eyes. "They are newborns-"

"And so have we been at some point," Aro raised a hand, silencing him. "Her decision with taking care of these newborns is quite respectable, in my personal opinion. I see no reason to destroy them when they have done nothing wrong."

"They come from the Seattle disturbance!" Caius argued. "They were apart-"

"They are innocent, brother," Aro murmured. "And I respect that."

He was literally my savior right there. "Thank you," was all I could say.

Aro smiled. "Please do join us again. I would like to meet the rest of them some day."

"You got it," I nearly sank to my knees with relief. "Anytime."

And that was he day the Volturi became the least of our worries. We did end up visiting them, all of us, and it went surprisingly well. Aro was intrigued with Fred's power, as well as the shield I never knew I had. We were offered positions in his guard, but of course, we declined. Perhaps that was the worse thing that came out of the Volturi decision. Knowing Aro secretly still wanted Fred and I.

A few years after that, we traveled throughout the states until Fred and Riley came across an engineering college they both were interested in going to. We stopped camp there, and I ended up watching over the three younger ones while the boys went to school. Riley loved it there. It was his dream, practically.

And finally, after all that time, Fred crawled out of his shell and told his feelings to Bree. He took a lot longer than I expected, just because he could see her like I could. She was still in pain. Every time you would catch her not laughing or enjoying herself, you could see the hollowness in her eyes, the pain of a mourning lover. But Bree accepted Fred's feelings in the end. It took a while for her to get over Diego, but she did. And although she'd always be affected by it, she was finally satisfied again.

As for Riley and I… there wasn't much to say. We never grew apart. He still looks at me like the day he told me he loved me, and not an inch of hesitation runs through my body. There are times, of course, when we have our differences. There are times when we get into arguments about stupid things and mutter how the other one always overacts. If it's real bad, and I end up slapping him, he just grabs me and kisses me back. He's really unfair when he does that. Because it's impossible to stay mad at him.

But there are way more positives than negatives to our relationship. Every night, after Riley would return from school and his job, we'd go walking around the neighborhood holding hands. Or he surprises me with roses after Gareth annoys the crap out of me all day. Or he teaches me how to play sports I never knew how to appreciate before. There are so many other things I can't even start to list. He was, and still is, the best thing that ever happened to me.

Just yesterday when we were visiting the Cullens, Emmett asked me an interesting question. He wanted to know what our clan was called. He suspected that perhaps we named ourselves after my last name, because I was one of the leaders. Or Riley's, since he was the male.

But I looked up at him and gave him the most flashy smile I think I've ever made.

"Isn't it obvious?" I beamed. "We're the super secret ninja clan!"

"Wow…" Emmett beamed back at me. "That's awesome!"

And it was awesome.

After all, how could any clan dedicated to Diego and his theories not be awesome?


YAYY everything ended up working out for them! :D I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter, and the entire story- for that matter! I remember when I posted Chapter 1, thinking the story would be a flub and no one would like it…

Let me just stop to say and thank every single one of you for everything you've done to support this story All your comments, and story alerts and favorites, every one has lifted my heart and urged me to continue. I would seriously not be anything without you guys- THANK YOU! –hug-

If any of you had read the last chapter of Bound to a Blackened Soul, you'll know the deal with me this summer. If not, I'll just repeat that I won't be writing any FF for the rest of the summer, presumably, because I'm going to focus entirely on a book I want to publish But I will be back, and I've got some stories planned and ready to write.

These consist of:

A third installment of Bella x Caius

Jane x Jacob

Marcus x Bella

They should keep me busy for a while ;) I do eventually want to touch upon another Riley fanfiction in the future- if any of you have ideas with who I should pair him with, please shoot me a message and I'll get back to you ;)