A/N: Massive thank you for all your kind words after the last chapter! You're all much too amazing for me to handle. For real.
I must, must thank Pinkaquaclouds, my beautiful beta, for her continuous support with this story. She's my rock and I could not have done it without her. An awesome beta is an honest, critical beta that will answer your crazed, writer's block ridden text messages in a heartbeat. She exudes awesomeness and I love her to little, tiny, itty bitty pieces. That is all.
Fifteen Years Later
With a long, drawn out sigh, I scribble my signature on the last page of a very lengthy contract. It's the last in a series of many, and I think I've signed as many contracts as I have autographs in the past fifteen years.
Jesus, has it really been that long?
I place the contract in a folder and hand it over to Emily, my personal assistant, who waits patiently by my desk.
She silently takes the folder from me and smiles understandingly. I know what she's seeing. She's seeing dark circles and gray hair and wrinkles.
Okay, maybe not the gray hair and the wrinkles. The dark circles are definitely there, though.
"Coffee?" she asks, and I nod.
She leaves my office and I lean back in my chair, rubbing my eyes.
What a day.
What a year.
What a decade and a half.
I don't think I've ever been so busy, and so tired.
Still, it's a good kind of tired.
A satisfying kind of tired.
The kind of tired where you're happy that you're tired because it means that you've accomplished something.
By signing that contract, I've just made it official to open another school in an area that was long overdue for one.
That would be the third school I've helped open since becoming queen.
A decade and a half ago, that word made me cringe.
Now, it's a title that I've gotten quite used to. I've embraced it, even. I've made good use of it, and I'll willingly admit that I've used it to my advantage.
Not in a bad way, of course. It's not like I've used it to try and take over the world or something. I mean, the idea has occurred to me, but I guess I'm just not that kind of person.
I toy with the diamonds on my ring finger, thinking of how my life has changed since the first time Edward put them on me.
Thinking about it all at once, it's almost overwhelming how much has happened.
The framed photos lining my desk are evidence of that.
There's my wedding picture, a simple shot of Edward and I, dressed in white, looking at each other with giant, cheesy grins.
I smile at the memory of our wedding day, and how I was super close to having a mental breakdown.
"Bella, suck it in a little more," Alice had said.
"I'm sucking as much as I can!" I screeched, my voice coming out all high pitched and wail-y.
"A little more," she coaxed, attempting to pull up the zipper at the back of my wedding dress.
I had sucked my tummy in even further, hating myself for what I could have possibly eaten to make it stick out like that.
"Don't rip it, Alice," I heard Rosalie warn. "It's very delicate; be careful with the lace."
I felt the panic well up in my chest. "I swear to fucking God, Alice, if you rip-"
There was a tearing sound, and my entire body went rigid.
"What. The. Fuck. Just. Happened?" I asked, reigning in the oncoming anxiety attack.
"Just the zipper!" Alice quickly assured me. "That was the sound of the zipper, Bella, I promise!"
My shoulders had sagged in relief and I felt Alice's hands turn me towards the full length mirror.
I gasped when I saw myself in all my bridal glory. It was just one of those moments where you don't know if you're looking at yourself or someone who looks like you, only twice as beautiful.
I'd had many of those moments already.
The gown was slim fitting, covered in lace and crystal beading. The keyhole back revealed a good portion of my skin while the fishtail train trailed behind me. It was a fairly modest gown, sleeveless but elaborately embroidered.
The only things missing were the veil and tiara.
"Edward is going to drop dead," Rose chuckled. She looked amazing in her pale gray bridesmaid dress.
"Don't say that," I mumbled halfheartedly.
There was a knock on my door and Esme came in, holding a square box covered in purple velvet.
"Look at you," she'd said softly, pausing behind me to look at me through the mirror. "You're gorgeous, sweetheart."
My eyes had gotten wet and they all started making a fuss about ruining my makeup. What proceeded was me tilting my head to the ceiling and blinking my eyes while the others fanned my face with their hands.
Once I had gotten myself under control, Esme opened the box she was holding.
Inside was a tiara, delicate but strong, formed by an intricate design of crystals in various sizes. It sparkled in the light, a vintage thing that I knew had to have some meaning behind it.
"I wore this on my wedding," Esme said, as if reading my thoughts. "It was a gift from Carlisle's mother, and now it's my gift to you."
I didn't know what to say. I watched, in a daze, as she placed it on my head, along with the veil.
The final result was one that made my heart pound and my palms sweat.
I started hyperventilating a little, trying to decide if I really wanted this.
"Oh, God," I whimpered. "I'm having second thoughts. I mean, I'm only twenty-one! Do people get married at twenty-one? Shouldn't I be like, out partying and shit? Oh my God…."
"Relax, sweetie," Esme had said. "If you didn't want this, you wouldn't be standing here, in this dress. We've been planning this day for a year and a half and you were so excited. Why the cold feet now?"
"You're just overwhelmed," Rosalie chimed in. "Just think about who's waiting for you down there."
Thinking about him gave me butterflies all over again. The past year and a half of our engagement had been insane. What with college and living together and planning a wedding- it was hectic. It was hectic, but I loved it. Being busy was my favorite thing.
Esme was right, though. I wanted this. I wanted it bad, really bad. Besides, it didn't matter when we got married. The result would have been the same, really. We'd fly to Paris for the honeymoon, and then come back three weeks before the new semester started.
I took a deep breath just as there was another knock on the door.
Edward's voice had come from the other side, and I gasped. "Edward!"
Esme glared at the closed door. "What in the name of…" She stomped towards it just as Rosalie and Alice dragged me away from it.
Esme opened the door a crack and poked her head out, "Edward, what do you think you're doing?"
I took a step toward the door, but Rose and Alice held me back.
"I just wanted to talk to her," I heard Edward say.
"You're not allowed to see her yet," Esme had scolded.
"He doesn't have to look at me," I argued, suddenly dying to see him, any part of him. "Just let me talk to him through the door or something."
Esme watched me for a moment before sighing and stepping away from the door. She nodded at Rose and Alice, my personal prison guards, and they let me go.
I hurried toward the door and received three shrieking warnings to be careful of the dress.
When I reached the door, I held on to the doorknob, forcing myself not to fling it open.
"Edward?" I said.
"I'm here," he replied.
"Turn away from the door."
A moment later, I peeked out from the crack and saw the back of him.
"Hi," I whispered.
He didn't move a muscle, but he did move his head just a little to the side. Not enough to see me, though.
"Hey," he said softly, clenching his fists. "You okay?"
"I'm nervous," I admitted. "Is everyone there yet?"
"Yeah, they're all seated. I just… I don't know, I guess I just had to talk to you one last time. Make sure you still want to do this…"
I laughed. "It's kind of too late for second thoughts, Edward."I realized what a hypocrite I sounded like.
"I know." I watched his fingers curl and uncurl. "I really want to touch you, though."
I bit my lip and stuck my entire arm out the crack in the door. "Don't turn around, just… Here."
Sticking my face back inside the room, I placed my hand on his shoulder. I'd felt his hand on my elbow, slowly trailing down until he caught my hand. He rubbed the back of my hand with his thumb before I felt his soft lips against my skin. It made goose bumps pop up all over my arm.
"Edward?" Charlie's voice came from the hallway, and my arm dropped. "What are you doing here?"
"I'll see you in a bit," I called through the door, retreating back into the room.
I heard Charlie and Edward talking, and Charlie entered a minute later, shaking his head.
"That boy doesn't know how to control himself," Dad muttered. He then caught sight of me and his eyes widened. "Look at you, baby girl. You're beautiful."
I felt myself blush. "Thanks, Dad."
There was some hustle and bustle after that, and less than half an hour later, I had my arm hooked around Charlie's minutes before I walked down the aisle.
Edward and I got married on the Garfield. It only seemed appropriate. For one thing, it was big enough. Hundreds of seats had been placed in rows, there were flowers everywhere, and there was no tent, just a pretty canopy of sorts. It was the summertime, so it was warm, though thankfully it wasn't disgustingly hot that day.
"You nervous?" Charlie had asked seconds before I exited the manor and started down the aisle.
"Yes," I squeaked.
He squeezed my hands. "You look amazing."
"So? Beauty doesn't guarantee that I won't trip and bust my ass."
Charlie had laughed. "Just focus on Edward, kiddo."
The doors opened, and I took a deep breath.
"I won't let you fall," he added at the last minute.
I rub the diamond on my ring and remember how it had been the longest walk of my life. The makeshift aisle stretched across a little more than half the Garfield. There were so many people, watching me. It felt like I couldn't get to my man fast enough.
But I had done what Charlie had said, and I had focused on Edward.
He had started out as a blurry figure in the distance. But with every step, the smile on his face became clearer and the look in his eyes became so powerful that I couldn't look away from it.
I can't stop smiling at the memory. It doesn't even matter that I had stuttered over my vows and said "hell yeah" instead of "I do". It doesn't matter that we made out in front of all the people, that the pictures had been everywhere. It doesn't matter that the country had been making a big deal out of the "royal wedding" and that there was a ton of pressure.
No, none of it really mattered at all.
I move my eyes to the next picture on the desk, the one of our baby boy on the day he was born.
In the picture, I'm in the hospital bed with our Andrew in my arms. Edward is leaning over us, his arm over my shoulder as we stare reverently at our son.
He had come a few weeks early, and the pregnancy itself had been unexpected. I hadn't been out of college too long when I found out that my eggo was preggo. I was twenty four at the time, and Edward was twenty seven. We hadn't even considered children just yet, but there was no doubt that we wanted them the same day we found out it was happening.
I'm wearing makeup in the picture. It's not because I'm crazy enough to wear makeup to go into labor, but it's because the day I went into labor was the same day as Rosalie's wedding.
I rubbed my massive belly, staring longingly at the champagne on our table. Rosalie's reception was going on, and people were dancing their asses off on the dance floor. Edward had gone off to get me food, but all I really wanted was a drink.
"You see that bottle right there, baby boy?" I asked my belly. "You're depriving Mommy of that right now. That's really not nice, you know."
Baby Boy had rewarded me with a kick, and I laughed tearfully.
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry," I apologized to my stomach. "It's not your fault, kiddo. We should have kept it wrapped or something, especially since I was on antibiotics. Try not to make that mistake too early in life, okay?"
A plate was placed in front of me, and I looked up at Edward. He smiled down at me, briefly running his hand over my stomach.
"What are we talking about?" he asked, seating himself down next to me.
"About keeping willies wrapped," I stated matter-of-factly.
Edward raised a brow. "Too early for that talk, don't you think?"
I patted his shoulder. "And when the time comes, you'll handle it, right?"
Edward opened his mouth to respond, but we were cut off by Alice, who danced her way over to us.
"Hey, guys. Bella, can I borrow Edward?"
I narrowed my eyes at her in mock suspicion. "What for?"
She rolled her eyes and waved her hand at me. "I am an engaged woman. Calm your hormonal self down! I just wanted a dance."
Edward laughed and stood up. "Excuse my pregnant wife, Alice. And yes, I'll dance with you."
"Keep your hands to yourself, wench!" I called after them, laughing.
Once they left, I longingly stared at the bottle of champagne again.
I received another swift kick from the child inside of me and rolled my eyes.
"You are just like your Daddy," I sighed. "You just-"
I gasped as I received a particularly hard kick from my little nudger.
Then, something felt different.
I was wetting myself.
Oh, God. Oh God, please not here, not now, noooooo.
My eyes had frantically searched for Edward amongst the dancers, and I saw his head bob in the crowd.
I opened my mouth to call for him, but I was cut off by a sharp pain in my uterus. It was gone after a moment, and I started panicking.
"EDWARD!" I screamed as loud as I could, but I was drowned out by the music as it suddenly got louder. I watched him laugh and smile just as what I was pretty sure was a contraction hit once more.
"EDWARD, GET OVER HERE RIGHT THE FUCK NOW!" I cried. The last four words were screamed out in the same second the song ended. Every head whipped toward me and then Edward was running my way, looking frantic.
"What, what's happening?" he asked hysterically. "Is he coming now?"
"I think so," I had panted.
What had proceeded was kind of a blur. Lots of people, lots of pain, lots of screaming hateful words at my husband… Baby Boy came early, but he came into the world with a vengeance. I had been jacked up on drugs during labor, too. I practically threatened the nurses their lives if they didn't find something to ease the pain.
Honestly though, I wouldn't have had it any other way.
It wouldn't have been the first time I went through that, either.
My eyes drift to the third picture, one of a little girl with bronze hair in two curled pigtails. Chocolate frosting is smeared all over her face, and she's grinning while brandishing a small spoon as Charlie looks on and laughs. He has one hand on her leg, to prevent her from falling off the counter she's perched on.
Sophia's entry into the world had been less dramatic, but equally as emotional. She was also early, but a little too early. Premature at first, she was a miniscule thing that barely fit into the palm of Edward's hand. Thankfully, she grew to be healthy.
The last picture is a family portrait, one that was taken just about a month ago. It's one of me, Edward, and the two kids as well as Moose, sitting on the sand of the beach where we spent my 19th birthday. Charlie had taken the picture, and the entire family had been there to celebrate Andrew's birthday.
There's a knock on my office door and Emily walks in with my coffee.
"You are a saint," I sigh as I take the cup from her. I take a hasty sip as she asks me if I need anything else, and when I reply with the negative, she leaves.
I stand up and stretch before picking up my cup and walking around the room. My office is fairly large, and it's all wood and colorful leather. It's nice and cozy, though. There are a couple couches and many bookshelves. There's also a table where I sometimes hold meetings.
I walk over to the unlit fireplace and look at the painting that hands above it. It's an abstract piece, one that I had designed the office around.
Okay, well, I didn't design the office, but it had been my idea to base the room's look on the painting,
The name Michelle Sabatino is scribbled on the bottom right-hand corner.
I smile, remembering the first time I met Michelle at that charity event when I was nineteen. She had only been a small seven-year-old with short blonde hair and dreams of becoming an artist. I remember hoping that I had at least changed one child's life, and now I can finally say that I have.
Michelle is out of college now, and fairly successful in the art industry. Edward and I have been to a few of her exhibitions already, and the girl has quite the talent. She always tells us about how her mother hadn't spoken to her for years after she found out that Michelle was going to follow through with her artist dream. Then, when Michelle made it big, her mother wanted back into her life.
I shake my head at the thought, my eyes falling on the picture on my mantle of me and Michelle at one of her exhibitions a year ago. She grew up to be gorgeous, even with the pink mohawk. She also kept the charm I gave her at the charity event all those years ago.
There are more pictures on the mantle, various ones of Rick and Esme and Charlie and Carlisle. Rick is in Norway right now, and Charlie still lives here, refusing to retire from his job as chef. Esme and Carlisle are living in Hawaii for an undefined amount of time.
There are a few photos of Rose, Emmett, Alice, and Jasper as well. I like my office to be a homey, warm place, which reminds me of people I care about. They're all married now, though Alice and Jasper are going through the adoption process.
My eyes are pulled away from the painting when I hear a familiar bark. The sound comes from outside, so I head over to the window that overlooks the Garfield.
Moose, no longer a tiny pup, is old now. Doggie years go by much too fast, since all he's able to do now is lay around and be gaseous.
I watch as he rolls over onto his back so that my son, his dark hair flying lightly in the breeze, can rub his belly and try to get the poor old canine to do tricks.
Even at ten, Andrew is tall and lanky like his Dad. They're a lot alike, especially when it comes to being hotheaded.
I remember when Andrew was born and I said, "Edward, I think he's going to have your jaw when he's older." Edward had laughed.
After another second, Edward comes into view, Sophie on his back. She's five now, and super hyper. The girl is all over the place, always running around and curious about things and asking a million questions in one breath.
I watch as Edward puts her down, making her squeal in delight as Moose gets up and licks her face.
The kids play with him as Edward watches, hands in the pockets of his pants and the sleeves of his light blue dress shirt rolled up.
He's king now, and he's amazing at it.
He's also pushing forty years of age, and I like to point that out from time to time. It doesn't bother him too much, which sucks because teasing is more fun when the victim is annoyed.
I sip from my cup and continue to watch from my "tower", eying my man candy. After all these years, he still makes me throb in all the right places. He's grown into his manliness well, and now he's all rugged with the stubble and the hair. He's still as crisp and clean as he's always been, though.
Unable to control myself, I tap the glass, hard.
Edward immediately hears it and looks up, momentarily searching the manor walls before he finds me.
He gives me a slow, crooked smile, one that promises many dirty things. Well, that's how I see it. I wave at him and he waves back, wiggling those long fingers at me.
I so know what he's thinking.
I kind of want to flash him or something, just for the fun of it, but I decide not to. My kids are right there. Had this been fifteen years ago, I would have done it no matter what.
Sophie notices her father's gaze and glances up. The second she sees me, she's on her feet, waving frantically as though I can't see her.
I laugh and wave back equally as dramatically, earning me one of her megawatt smiles.
Edward jerks his head, telling me to come down and join them. I hold up my coffee cup and nod, indicating that I'll be down once I'm done reenergizing.
Once he turns away, I sight in contentment.
I don't think things could be any better right now. I thought I knew what happiness was, but I really didn't. Not until now, anyway.
I feel complete now, utterly satisfied with who I am and where I am and what I've done.
Once, during an interview, a reporter had asked me what I thought creates a fairytale. Is it the story of two people from two different worlds fighting their battles and coming together? Is it someone from a poor background making it big and becoming a millionaire?
I had to think good and hard about how to answer that question, and I still remember every word I had said:
"Three things. Struggles, victories, and happiness. That's what creates a storybook ending. It's not about falling in love with someone the complete opposite of you or getting rich after being poor your whole life. It's about having to go through tons of shit. Tons. Lots of struggles and obstacles, because that's what life is. It's about overcoming those obstacles and pushing yourself until you win. It's about figuring out what you want and working to get it. It's okay to break some traditions and rules to do that, as long as it doesn't, like, hurt someone. It's about being happy, about being satisfied with who you are and what you've done. I think that once you're finally happy in life, happy with everything, you're done. You've lived. You've gotten your storybook ending."
I had been quoted all over the place after that.
But I really did mean what I said, and I still do.
With a little bit of courage, a pinch of determination, and a lot of rebelliousness, I'm finally what I've always wanted to be.
A/N: Okay. Wow. This whole thing was a BLAST to write. I had so much fun writing something so lighthearted, and it's a thousand times better when there are so many wonderful, beautiful people to share it with. Not gonna lie.
To answer some frequently asked questions: No, there isn't going to be a sequel. I don't see it happening. No, I'm not going to pull this for whatever reason. It's here to stay. Maybe there will be outtakes, but it all depends on if inspiration hits. If so, they will be posted here. Yes, I am working on another story but it probably won't be up for a couple months. I'm pre-writing it and I keep making tons of changes so it's not a good idea for me to put it up just yet.
As for Royal Encounters, I'm not sure when I'll update that. I'm really into the new story and the semester starts today so I'm going to be swamped with schoolwork. Gross, I know. But RE will get finished, I promise.
Here we go: Super, ginormous, massively massive, insanely gargantuan THANK YOU to anyone that's ever read, reviewed, favorited, or alerted this story. Each little email was like a virtual hug for me, and also amazing motivation. I love you guys so much that you make me giddy, and all your comments always make me all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Honestly, if this stupid website didn't eat up all my heart emoticons and turn them into stupid 3's, there would be hearts all over the place. Thank you so, so, so freakin' much for sticking with me this far. I want to pounce on each and every one of you and hug the crap out of you, honest. [insert five hearts here]
To anyone that's ever rec'd this story, whether that be in your own story, on Twitter, on your website, your blog, or even to your friends, I owe you a big one! So to anyone that's ever pimped this little tale, you're entirely fuckawesome and I will be forever grateful. [insert five hearts here]
That's a wrap on Royal Rebellions! I'm marking this baby as 'complete'. I'm sad to see it end, but I'm also very satisfied and excited to work on my next one. I just can't quit. *sigh*
Also, Bella's wedding dress is linked on my profile.
Feel free to keep in touch via Twitter ( I'm xNimC on there as well). I'm on there quite a bit, and I LOVE talking to you guys.
Drop me a line! I'm going to reply to every single one of you (unless you're on anon or you have PMs disabled). You have my word.
So, I guess it's goodbye for now.
I will be seeing you beautiful people soon! [insert ten hearts here]