AN: Here it is... the end.
Thank you to babylopez2008 for generally being amazing and sticking with me. I really appreciate the time you've invested in this little fic.
Thank you to DreamOfTheEndless for being a great friend through this and pushing me to be better. And for the WC's!
And last, but by no means least, thank you to you... for reading this, for reviewing, for putting this on alert, and for favouriting this fic. Each and everyone of you has made me a very happy person.
So, for the last time... enjoy...
The journey home was a quiet one. My family's thoughts centred on what had just occurred, as well as the human who got caught up in all of this, Bella's father.
I rode back in the car Jasper had acquired along with Bella, Charlie and Carlisle. I was the one to drive us, as I could get us back to Forks while driving faster than the speed limit and avoiding the police, while Carlisle and Bella attended to Charlie. His head was in Bella's lap while she ran her hand through his hair. Carlisle focused on Charlie's vitals and the healing of his wounds. My venom had healed them well, but Charlie didn't open his eyes the whole journey home. That's what had Carlisle worried.
When we arrived home, Bella refused to let us put him in our make-shift hospital room. She didn't have to say why. I'm sure the room held some bad memories for her. It was where she technically died after all.
We placed him in Bella's room instead, which is next to mine. It might be her room, but she doesn't actually use it, preferring to spend her time in mine with me. Besides our recent trip to Seattle, I don't think we've been apart from each other since she was changed. These last twenty four hours, I've hardly seen her. She's been glued to Charlie's side as he's been too weak to do anything for himself. We've all tried to give them some privacy, which is actually quite difficult. I refuse to be too far from Bella. Just being on the other side of the door is killing me.
I could have lost her for good. There are so many things we haven't done yet, and we would have never had the chance. If she had died, I would have gladly asked for the same fate. I just can't be without her, all of her.
Its amazing how one person can alter your life so completely. Before Bella, I was alone. Sure I had my family, but I was missing something. I didn't know what that was at the time. I guess that's one of the reasons why I wanted to travel by myself. Perhaps I believed that I would find someone to call my own. It's ironic that I had to come home to do that.
I've realised through all of that, I wouldn't change a thing about the circumstances that led us to where we are now. When I first saw Bella, she was so depressed that she believed she couldn't find a way out. Just look at her now. I hope that I was brought in to her life for the best reasons and looking back over our time together, I think that I was. I know I wouldn't be anything without her.
She makes me a better person by loving me for who I am. Not once did she try to change me in to someone I'm not. She accepts me for the monster that I always thought I was. I think I'm starting to believe now that perhaps I'm not. I can't figure out how someone as pure as my Bella could love a monster. She sees the best in everyone, making them better in the process. I need her. We all do. My family and I are all so lucky that she wants us in return.
"Dad?" I hear Bella say. The wooden chair creaks under her weight as I notice Charlie's breathing pick up slightly, signalling that he's now awake.
"So... it was all real then?" he asks me.
What should I tell him? Since living with him, I've noticed that my dad's a smart guy. I mean, he's the Chief of Police. I'm sure he must have worked it out by now.
"I'm so sorry, Dad."
More than he'll ever know.
He nods in my direction and then goes back to staring at the ceiling.
"How are you feeling?" I ask.
He sighs deeply.
We're silent for a moment, neither one of us knowing quite what to say to the other. I watch as Charlie's eyes move from side to side. It looks as if he's trying to work something out.
"You didn't run away, did you?" he finally asks.
"No, Dad, I didn't. I wanted to come home. I didn't want to leave you. I-"
"Bells, one thing at a time, please," he interrupts me. "And could you talk a little slower?" he asks as he looks at me again.
I nod once.
I give him some time to properly look at me. I know I've changed. Even the sound of my voice has.
"You look," Charlie begins, "... better."
What does he mean by that?
My dad must notice the confusion on my face as he goes on to explain, "Bella... you were so broken for so long. You started to get better, sure, but you were never fully there. I didn't know what to do for you. I'm just glad you're better now."
"Dad... I don't think there's anything you could have done. Just being there for me was enough," I tell him, my voice cracking at the end of the sentence. "You were there when I needed you."
"No, I wasn't," he says adamantly. "Thinking you had run away from me this time reminded me of when your mother left with you when you were little. I thought it had happened again, that you didn't want anything to do with your old man."
"I'm sorry, Bells. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you growing up. I'm sorry that your mother had to die for me to be a part of your life. I'm just... I'm sorry."
I'm not sure what to say. He stares at me, waiting for me to talk.
"You're here now," I finally manage to tell him. "That's what counts."
"I'm here," he murmurs. "Where is here exactly?" he asks a little louder.
"The Cullen's house. Dr. Cullen has been keeping an eye on you," I reply.
"Is this where you've been staying?"
"You couldn't... pick up the phone?" he questions me.
"I don't exactly sound like myself, Dad. What would I have told you anyway?"
Charlie slowly moves to a sitting position, propping himself up against the pillows. I guess this way he can see me properly, for what I am now. I cringe and try to shy away from his gaze.
"You always were pretty, Bells. You still are. You just look like... like one of the Cullens actually."
"Yeah I guess I do." I shrug.
"So... you're... one of them now?" he asks.
I think now is the time that I should probably tell him.
"Dad... I'm a-"
"I don't need to know details. I think it's best if I don't, especially after dealing with that crazy red head."
"You won't have to worry about her again," I tell him. "She's gone."
"Good to know. When can I go home, do you think? I don't want to outstay my welcome."
"Don't be silly, you're always welcome. I can understand if you'd be a little uncomfortable though. I can always ask Dr. Cullen for you."
"Yeah, you do that."
I nod, which is followed by a period of silence. I expect my dad is just trying to process what we've discussed.
"Are you happy, Bells?"
His question surprises me. I don't need to think about the answer for very long.
"Of course, you're safe."
"That's not what I meant. Are you happy here, with the Cullens?" he asks again.
"Don't worry about me, Dad. They're like a second family to me now. I'm happy here."
"That's all I ask for... although I'm not I like the idea of you living with a boy."
I feign ignorance.
"What do you mean?"
"That Edmund? He's single isn't he?"
"It's Edward, Dad, and actually... we're, uh, we're seeing each other."
"I can't say I'm too pleased about that. He's a little old for you isn't he?"
"Actually, we're the same age. We're both juniors."
"I guess under the supervision of Carlisle and Esme its okay. Does he treat you right?"
"Alright then. I have to say, I thought you might be more interested in Jacob."
He chuckles before saying, "I guess not."
Charlie insisted on heading home as soon as he felt up to it. Carlisle dropped him off on his way to work this morning. My siblings were back at school, Esme was running some errands in town, meaning it's just Bella and I... home alone at last.
I find Bella at her usual spot at my baby grand.
"Hey," I say as I approach her. I lean on the piano, resting on my arms, as I stand opposite her.
"Hey." She shows me a small smile.
"Can we go somewhere?" I ask. "It feels like forever since we spent time together."
"Of course," she replies.
Fifteen minutes later, we come to a stop by our waterfall. I'm hoping today will erase the memory of the last time we were here.
Bella walks up to the water, takes off her shoes, and sits down on the edge so she can dip her toes in to it. I go ahead and do the same.
"It really is beautiful here," she says. "Thank you for bringing me back."
"I thought we could both do with getting out of the house," I reply.
She sighs and leans forward. She then proceeds to run her fingers over the surface of the water.
"It's so peaceful," she quietly says as she returns to her previous position.
I take her hand in my own and run my thumb over her knuckles. She finally looks at me.
"You scared me, you know?" I tell her. "If I had lost you-"
"You didn't, you won't."
"But you could have died. She would have burnt you to a crisp."
"Thanks to you, it didn't happen. For the third time in my life, you saved me," she states simply.
I chuckle quietly.
"I think the old me would be seriously pissed off right now," I reply.
"The old you?"
"Yeah, the person I was before I met you. You saved me too," I tell her.
"I did? How?"
"Just by being you. I love you, Bella."
"I love you," she replies with a smile on her face, "so much that it hurts to be away from you."
"We don't ever have to be apart again."
"I like the sound of that," she replies and then giggles.
Bella quietens and stares at me, looking me right in the eye. I do the same and notice that the colour of her eyes is a mix of red and gold. She's so beautiful.
I decide that it's now or never. I've been thinking about nothing but this since before the detour to Seattle. Almost losing her only reinforced the idea. We're going to be together from now until the end of time anyway. We might as well do it properly.
I put my free hand in my pocket and pull out my biological mother's engagement ring still in its box. I open the lid, turn over Bella's hand that I'm already holding, and place it there.
I notice that she stops breathing.
"Isabella Swan, I've known you for a short time but with each passing minute, my bond to you grows stronger and more everlasting.
"You see me for the vampire that I am and you don't even think to try to change that. The more I get to know you, the deeper I fall in love with you.
"You drive me crazy, frustrate me when you don't listen to me, and have this stubborn streak that is completely you and I wouldn't change a thing about it.
"I love you... I promise to love you for every moment of forever. Would you do me the extraordinary honour of marrying me?"
Her gaze constantly moves from my face to the ring and back again.
"What?" she finally asks in a hushed whisper.
It takes her another moment to say anything. I almost decide to ask her again just to fill the silence.
Within seconds, I slip the engagement ring on to her finger and pull her on to my lap. Before she can say anything, I cover her mouth with my own.
"Mine," I hear myself say.
"Yours," she replies, "forever."
Forever... I like the sound of that.
AN: If you want more from me, my new fic is up to chapter 3 and will post every Friday. You can find it on my profile. It's called The Long Walk Home. Mehek18 made me an awesome banner for it as well.
Here's the link, hope it works (just remove the spaces): http: / www. fanfiction. net /s/ 6969607 /1/ The_Long_Walk_Home