Five years later...
"Bella, hey, wait up!" I stopped in my tracks at the familiar voice, turning gracefully and forcing a smile across my face. Matt, who had become the closest thing I had to a friend during the year, seemed stunned for moment, as he so often did whenever I turned my full vampire charm on him, before he shook his head. "What did you think?"
"It went okay," I replied, falling into step with him and shrugging slightly. "Just glad that it's over."
"Yeah, yeah, me too. Listen, a few of us are going out for drinks later to celebrate, would you - "
"I'm sorry, Matt," I cut in, loathe to be the subject of yet another thinly veiled attempt of his to get me to go on a date with him. "But I have other plans." Alice was waiting for me, where she'd said she would, leaning her back against the conspicuous yellow porshe she'd bought a couple of years ago.
Her eyes lit up when she saw me, and I grinned back – we'd been apart for a handful of days while I studied for my finals, and as always seeing her after an absence made me unimaginably happy. If my heart could beat, it would be pounding.
"Hey, you," she murmured when I reached her, arms curling around my neck as I grabbed at the loops on her jeans, pulling her close. "How was it?"
"Good," I replied against her lips before kissing her soundly, not caring who saw us – not that there were many people about, anyway. Mine had been the last exam, and most of the student population of Yale had been leaving the campus over the last few days.
I'd always wanted to go to college, but the job offer from the magazine had meant that it was a dream for another day – and my transformation had allowed it to be possible. Not to mention the added advantage that super senses, including an incredible memory, as well as the whole no-sleeping thing had on my studying.
It was almost unfair, but I was having too much fun to care. I'd done my freshman year at Harvard and then transferred to Yale, so people would hopefully not get too suspicious about my non-aging. And now I was finished, hopefully passing with flying colours, and ready to move onto my next adventure.
It had been five glorious years since I'd changed, and I hadn't looked back since. I still pined for my old friends and my Dad from time to time, but I knew that a clean break (the irony wasn't lost on me), was best for us all in the long run.
To both mine and Alice's amazement, I hadn't had the slightest bit of trouble with controlling my bloodlust. I had zero desire for human blood, and even though sometimes when I was hunting I felt terribly sorry for the poor animal I was draining, I knew that it was either them or me.
"Shall we?" Alice murmured, breaking me out of my reverie and I nodded, slipping into the passenger seat of the too fancy car. As always, she drove too fast, but I was growing to appreciate it more now – with the same reflexes I knew that there was no way she could ever lose control of the vehicle.
Our bags were stuffed into the boot and onto the tiny backseat of the car, all of the immediate possessions we needed; the rest had been left behind in the house we'd bought for the duration of my time at Yale, to be sold along to the new owners.
We were leaving the country altogether, headed for Sweden, this time. I didn't know what to do while we were there, and neither did Alice, but we were both content to get away for a while and spend some much needed time together.
And oh yeah – we were living just down the street from the rest of Alice's family.
They had begun patching things up properly after I'd turned, but things had still been strained until recently. Until Edward had met the woman that he was sure was his mate. From then on, there'd been amicability between everyone in the Cullen clan – including me.
The real test would be living near them for an extended period of time, but we were both decided that it would be the best thing for us, in the long run. I couldn't deny that I was nervous, though, but I knew that whatever happened, Alice would be there.
We left Alice's car at the airport – she was more cut up about leaving that than anything else, which just had me rolling my eyes. On the plane I read, something that I was doing with increasing regularity as I didn't sleep; I was thinking about taking an English degree next, instead of the one in biology that I'd just completed. It'd probably be easier, considering my past.
Esme and Carlisle met us on the other side, waiting to one side of the arrivals section, and both enveloped the pair of us in a hug when we reached them – the first sense of family I'd really had since I'd last seen my dad those few years ago.
"How are you both?" Esme, ever the doting mother, asked as they led us towards their car. She had an arm wrapped around Alice's shoulder, an expression of relief written across her face; no doubt she was glad to have all of her family back together again.
"Good," Alice answered on behalf of both of us, as she and Esme slid into the backseat – Carlisle noticed my raging indecision about where to sit and laughed, nodding his head towards the passenger seat. I tuned out Alice and Esme's conversation, content to keep my eyes on the road, watching the trees fly by.
"Bella." Carlisle broke me out of my reverie, his voice as carefully controlled as always. I turned away to face him, curious. "You're really okay? No ill effects after your transformation? No craving for human blood?"
"None," I answered honestly, noting his look of fascination. I was prepared for the onslaught of questions – as far as any of us knew, I was the first of our kind to not suffer from any adverse effects of the change, and no-one knew why.
"And you still have no idea why?"
"I wish I did. It'd be nice to not feel like a freak for once in my life."
"You're not a freak, Bella," he replied kindly, shooting me a reassuring glance. "Just… an anomaly. One that I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of, eventually." I managed a smile, and the conversation was cut short as he pulled up outside a grand house. Other cars littered the elaborate driveway, and I had no doubt as to who they belonged to – it seemed the entire Cullen clan was there for the family reunion.
"This is a beautiful place," I murmured as we stepped out of the car, admiring the curving steps that led up to the heavy set wooden front door. There was even a balcony set into the second floor, overlooking the driveway and the forest that surrounded the house on three sides – the perfect hunting ground.
"Your house is just down the road – if you'd like to go and explore that now, then feel free, but we thought you might like to see everyone again first."
"Definitely." There was an air of excitement to Alice as she came to stand beside me, lacing her fingers through mine and squeezing my hand gently. She hadn't seen any of the others since they'd appeared in my apartment, apart from brief visits that I knew she thought didn't ever last for long.
A curtain was pulled back from one the windows, and Rosalie peered around the side – when she saw us a delighted smile spread across her face. I'd never expected to grow to like the blonde as much as I now did, and though at first she'd struggled to accept the fact that I'd given up my humanity, she'd come around eventually. And she'd always been there for Alice, through it all – I would always be grateful to her for that.
"B-before we go in," Alice started, pulling me to a stop as I started to make my way towards the house. I turned, raising a questioning eyebrow – she looked as ill as a vampire ever could, and I frowned. "I want to say something."
"Okay?" I was confused by the sudden change in her behaviour, and also by the look of delighted glee on Esme's face when I caught a glance of her over my girlfriend's shoulder. "What's going on?"
"I just…" Alice trailed off, taking a deep breath, and I heard the front doors open behind me, the unmistakable sound of several sets of footsteps filing out, lining the steps, and my frown deepened. But then Alice suddenly dropped to one knee in-front of me, and my breath caught in my throat, my brain finally catching up.
"Oh, my God," I whispered, and a grin flashed across Alice's face at the response as she produced a tiny black box from inside her coat pocket.
"Isabella Swan," she started, opening the box to reveal a beautiful diamond ring – it caught the rapidly fading light and glittered, so perfect that it took my breath away. "Will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?"
"Yes," I breathed, sure that if I were able, tears would be pouring down my face – especially at the delighted expression that flitted across Alice's features. She slipped the ring easily onto my finger (unsurprisingly it was a perfect fit), before climbing gracefully to her feet and kissing me hard on the mouth; all around us, I could hear the woops and cheers of my new family.
A/N: It's a cheesy ending, I know, but I couldn't resist. The response to the last chapter was amazing, more than I'd hoped for, and I hope you like this one, too. I know it's short but I feel like it works okay the way it is.
I just want to thank everyone who's stuck with this story to the end - I really can't thank you enough. This has been the most popular story I've ever posted, and that means alot.
I think it's pretty clear that I probably won't ever return to writing this pairing again, but I will always be writing. I've already done a couple of stories for the Glee fandom, and next I'll probably be moving on to Lost Girl or Once Upon a Time. If you're interested in any of those things then feel free to follow me on here, or on Tumblr (shutupberry is my URL).
Thank you all so, so much again; you're amazing and I'm sending you all virtual hugs right now.