Author's Note: So here is the final chapter! My god, this has been quite the journey, hasn't it? This story (combined with Starlight Vows) has taken over my life for 7 months, and it has been one hell of a ride. I love that so many readers have enjoyed my work, and appreciate your continual support and feedback. This section coincides with Chapter 60 of Starlight Vows. I wanted to fill in more of their little honeymoon, as well as Edward's thoughts on everything to this point. I'm a little sad to know that this is over. Thanks for sticking with me this long!
Her skin sparkled like freshly-cut diamonds under the warm rays of the sun. The water that ran down her exposed body kept my own in check while I watched her walk across the sand, running a hand through her soaking wet hair and sighing contently. Seeing her so relaxed made my heart swell. The redness of her irises was fading, with speckles of amber appearing around her pupils. The golden band that hugged her finger glimmered when it passed her cheek along with her hand. A gasp caught in my throat when she turned her head away from the ocean. Her perfect lips curved into a brilliant smile as she noticed me watching her from the back porch of the beach house we were staying in. She was every bit as beautiful as the first day I met her in that classroom.
It was the middle of August; a time of extended daylight, children playing in backyards, runny ice cream cones, water parks, and cookouts. For me, the summer was never that enlightening. It was usually warmer, sunnier, and crowded with humans. But as I watched my wife walk towards me in her black, seductive bikini, with the smile that always melted my forever frozen heart, I knew that this summer was different.
"Are you spying on me, Sir?" My angel's voice was coy as she arched an eyebrow. I played along, removing my resting arms from the wood fencing and standing back with a sly look on my face.
"I'm sorry, I did not mean to offend you, Miss." I used my best innocent tone. She grinned slightly, walking up the steps. Her hand tugged at her hair, moving it over her bare shoulder. I licked my lips. "But you are quite alluring."
"Hmm, I'm not sure what to think of that, but thank you," she replied, eyeing me cautiously. She grabbed the towel that hung over the fence, wrapping it delicately around her slender waist. A low growl urged to come through me; I didn't want her skin hidden from me. "What brings you out here on a beautiful day like this?" she asked while leaning against one of the poles behind her.
"The scenery is exotic this time of year. I enjoy seeing the reflection of the sky in the water. Very soothing, don't you think?" I gazed out into the distance, curious to see where this little role play would lead us.
"Hm. Yes, I agree." I snapped my head back to look at her, glancing down to her hand to admire her rings.
"You have very beautiful rings on your hand. Forgive me if I am being too forward, Miss, but are you married?" I couldn't help but grin as she looked at her hand for an instant.
"I am," she sighed, looking away from me with a sullen expression. I wondered if she was still pretending, or if I upset her somehow.
"Why the long face? It doesn't belong on one that is as marvelous as yours." Fighting the urge to scoop her into my arms, I stuck my hands in my slack pockets.
"He hasn't paid much attention to me this vacation. This is supposed to be my honeymoon. And he has left me alone for most of it." Oh, this is the angle she's going with? Hm, I like it. She arched her back towards me while leaning similarly to how I was just moments before.
"Well, I think any man who can ignore an angel such as you is a fool," I said softly, approaching her side. "He doesn't deserve your company."
"Mm…" Her lips pursed as if she was in deep thought. The towel dangled around her thighs, teasing me as I desperately fought to keep my hands away from her. "Are you implying that he is a bad choice of husband, then?" Her slick tone made my body tingle. I stifled a chuckle and leaned my back against the wood, watching her closely as she turned her head to look at me.
"Well I cannot dictate your choices, because you seem to be a very well-rounded, intelligent woman. But if I were your husband, I would spoil you with all the love of affection that I could muster from my being. And that still would not be enough. Plus, I certainly wouldn't leave you alone, where strange men could steal you from me." Her eyes twinkled with lust and she smiled sweetly.
"I don't find you strange, Sir. Not at all," she said. "Quite the opposite, actually." Some drops of water spilled onto the wood from around her chin.
"Thank you. That is very nice of you to say," I replied with a warm smile.
"I don't mean to trouble you with my newlywed woes. That's silly of me to do with a stranger," she sighed, looking back out to the ocean.
"Miss, I don't mind. You seem distraught. I wish that I could do something to cheer you up," I tried to sound concerned, leaning over to look at her closer. The salty fragrance from the water filled my nostrils, along with the weakened scent of strawberries that I loved so much. One of my hands reached out, lightly pulling back some of her hair that hung over the side of her face.
"I can think of a few things…" Her voice was consuming my senses. Every note struck me with newfound desire.
"What would your husband think?" I asked, leaning closer, inhaling her aroma. I sensed her body shiver when my cool breath touched the skin of her neck, just below her jaw.
"You said yourself that he is a fool. Perhaps I should prove to him how much of one he is," she whispered, succumbing to the lust that we both felt as she leaned into me. Her check pressed into the palm of my hand; her eyes glazing over while staring at me.
"Are you should you want to do that? It may anger him knowing that you are with me." My tone was hoarse. It was becoming harder to keep up this charade. She was now close enough that our noses were lightly touching. Her breath was staggering.
"I'll take my chances." I heard the smile in her words as she echoed a phrase I had said to her in the past. With that, what remained of my control seeped out of my body as I slid my hand to the back of her wet hair, just above the hairline, pressing my aching lips to hers.
Our time together on that small island consisted of devoting ourselves to each other, in mind, body, and soul. She and I reminisced over our lives, sharing secrets and memories. She detailed as much of her human life to me as she could, in fear that she would forget everything. I had to remind her that it would take time for her human memories to fully fade. We created new memories together, spending time exploring the island's scenery, wildlife, depths of the ocean…everything I had done before became bright and new while with my Bella. She made life exciting for me, as if I was seeing things for the first time. In a way, I really was.
The century I had lived so far on this earth was constantly grey. I lost myself in the darkness that was my lost identity; a constant battle between what I was and who I wanted to be. I walked this world with a perpetual stick in my ass, as Emmett so eloquently articulated to me once. I hated everything, and everyone, especially myself. I wallowed in my lost humanity, fearing that I would be doomed to exist without a soul. It was not until I met Isabella Swan that I realized just how inexplicably wrong I was. I indeed had a soul. According to her, it was as beautiful as my appearance, yet it shined brighter than the sun in her eyes. I wonder if she will ever realize how much of an angel she truly is. How she was the one who saved me on so many occasions, not the other way around.
"So you had green eyes as a human? I would have loved to see that," she said, leaning against the rock while water rippled between us in the cove. We were in a cool embrace beside a vast waterfall. It was a hiding place I was well informed of by Carlisle and Esme. Bella's eyes gazed into mine, her face shrinking into that of determination. "Hm," she hummed while placing a hand on my cheek. "I guess I can picture it." I smiled under her skin. Water dripped over my eyes and nose as I watched her investigate. How did I get so lucky?
"I could purchase contacts if you wish, so you can see what it was like?"
"No way," she pouted. "I love your eyes the way they are. Whether they're amber, black, or burgundy. Don't mess with perfection!" Her statement was followed by laughter, making my heart swell. My love's laugh was a noise that I could, and would forever listen to without becoming dulled.
"You are perfection, Love," I whispered, capturing her lips with mine for a quick, chaste kiss. Her fingers trailed into my soaked hair, tugging at the strands playfully before I broke away.
"I may be now, thank you. At least I don't trip over my own damn feet anymore." She turned away, staring down at our reflection in the moving water. The side profile of her face reminded me of when she was sad as a human. I disliked it.
"You always have been," I pressed while burying my nose in her silky hair. "You were born perfect. Perfect for me. Perfect for forever. Stop berating yourself." As I spoke, her hands fell to my back, tracing circles above my shoulder blades. I felt her body relax as she sighed. Still so many doubts, my Bella? If only I could get you to understand just how wonderful you are. Your stubbornness will be the end of me some day.
"Do you miss my eyes?" she asked quietly. I was still for a few seconds before responding.
"Sometimes. They were the second thing I noticed about you, after your glorious scent."
"Mm." Her hold tightened around me. I placed a kiss on the top of her shoulder as my hands ran up the sides of her waist.
"Bella, it doesn't matter what shade your eyes are. I will always lose myself in them." I pulled back, seeing the uncertainty all over her face. I pecked her nose, then her forehead. She gasped lightly at the contact. "Don't doubt that for a moment, though I know right now you are. Will you always be so absurd?"
"Pft, I guess so," she groaned in offense. I chuckled. No matter what she had endured in the last three hundred and forty six days, her innocence reigned. It was extraordinary. Any normal human would have broken down psychologically, reduced to a white jacket and cushioned room. But not my Bella. No, she was so much stronger than that, even before the change. I recalled for a moment, the baseball game we had. I remembered her panic-stricken expression as my siblings egged her on to join us. Even then, as she swung the heavy bat against the small ball, I saw her strength. It may not have been physical before, but psychologically and emotionally, she was stronger than steel.
She stood up to me numerously, never backing down, even when our arguments were detrimental to her safety. She stood up to her father, to the Quileutes, to the Volturi. There is a glow about her that only intensified when she became like me. Her existence was proof enough that God was real and looking out for me, though I never believed it before. I thought I was doomed; punished for something I had done in my human life that I had forgotten. Punished for the human lives I stole in my early years. Then Bella came, stripped me of the masks I had worn for so many decades, filled me with a yearning that I thought was lost to me, and remarkably loved me for everything that I am.
"Did I mention that I challenged Jake to a race when we get back?" My love's tender voice sang as she wrapped her arms around me while I fixed our bed. It had been slightly…roughed up…in previous hours. Her fingers were distracting me as they trailed down the crease of my bare chest, making me cough to calm myself.
"On those god-awful excuses for bikes?" I sneered, remembering how hers looked the one time I had seen it; mangled and warped from her crash. Her hands froze and she sniffled, irritated.
"That's rude! I think they are beautiful pieces of work. Jake spent a lot of time fixing them up. Respect!" She snapped, lightly smacking my skin with her palm. I let go of the cotton sheet in my hand and instantly turned, smiling down at her.
"Won't you let me buy you a new, safe one?" Her eyebrows raised and she scoffed when I said safe.
"Um, remember? I'm kinda indestructible now. No need for Mr. Worryward to come out." She poked my chest. My smile turned into a frown. I hated the nicknames she created for me during my brooding days. Worryward, Broodface, Sulky Pants…they were added to the list of the hated nicknames Emmett had crowned me. They were juvenile, and downright ridiculous. "Besides, I love my motorcycle. Before we left, Jake promised to suit it up with some awesome attachments so it can handle my new thrill-seeking attitude," she smirked. Yes, my Bella finally had embraced the love for speed that my family and I had. When you naturally move infinitely faster than the average human, it's only natural.
"I'll have to request Jasper to order one for me. I don't trust that dog's talents," I growled, thinking about Jacob with Bella.
Their relationship healed after the confrontation with the Volturi. The tension between us and the wolves grew tiresome after a while, and we eventually met in the middle. Though, as much as Jacob allegedly suppressed it, his thoughts would never leave the topic of how Bella chose this life for me. To be with me. Choosing me over him. Images of intimacy between the two of them would always pop up at some time while the three of us were anywhere near each other. It was quite difficult to drown out the desires of the raging dog (as if he was in heat most of the time!) and I constantly scowled when discussing him because of it. Jealously hasn't diminished in that arena. And I doubt that it ever will. Jacob and Bella share a bond that is different than the one she and I share. She loves him with all her heart, which drives the possessive monster inside me insane. She should only belong to me. Yet, I understand that she and him are close friends and always will be. So I do my best when around them, acting cordial and ignoring the offensive thoughts.
The rest of the pack grew accustomed to my family and I. Seth, especially. He treated me like an older brother, which surprised me as much as it did everyone else. But he explained to me that he knew I wouldn't harm Bella or anyone else for that matter. He was a gentle teen, very loving and accepting. The others took longer to tolerate me around the reservation. Paul was the worst because he had a stronger aggression than the others, which made him very hot-headed. Jacob did a fine job in keeping him in line. Leah Clearwater was the one who neglected us the most if we visited. She hated us for letting Sam perish, though I think she was merely projecting her own sadness and blame for the event onto us. Emily was much more of a wreck, making it difficult for the others to concentrate on any important matters after the funeral. Jacob tended to her when he could, and I could see the care in his eyes for her, like she was a sister to him.
As much as I detested Jacob Black, I grew to respect him. His newfound leadership is strong and admirable. Having to control a large group of intense, aggressive wolves could not be easy. I respected Sam Uley highly due to his ability to keep them in line and discuss matters democratically. Jacob, on the other hand, was far snappier during heavy discussions. Though, as time passed, he tamed his anger and was able to adapt to his new role. Having Bella there to cheer him on from the sidelines helped, also. It had been a very long year for all of us.
On the final night of our honeymoon, Bella insisted on spending some time apart. She told me she wanted to mentally collect herself for returning to the real world after being in our "bubble", as she called it, for so long. So I found myself watching the stars flicker in the dark night sky. The sound of the crashing waves soothed me, and caused me to reflect on just how enlightening my life had become because of Bella.
She was an angel who descended from heaven, specifically for me, to save me from myself. Her brilliance and strength fed me, making me a better man. A better mate. I wanted to worship her like she deserved for the rest of our days on this earth. For eternity and more. There would never be enough time. She brought shining light into my dark world. Her heart pierced through the shadows of mine, reviving the soul that lay dormant since my death. Bella brought with her the stability I needed. A reason to exist. A reason to love.
It was then that I felt slender, but tough arms snake around me, clasping at my abdomen. Her precious lips tingled against my skin as she kissed my back. "What are you doing?" I asked, sounding husky.
"Enjoying you," her soft voice squeaked between kisses. "What are you doing?"
"Watching the waves. They remind me of myself," I said with a sigh. Her magnificent face appeared under my arm and she looked at me, puzzled. "Of us."
"How's that?" My eyes fell back to the water before us as it sloshed against the sand.
"The waves rise and crash amongst each other, similarly to how my head and heart have battled for the last year when it comes to you." A battle that was endless, yet invigorating to be a part of. I moved myself so Bella could be comfortably in front of me. As my arms wrapped around her like a most cherished gift, I rested my head on her shoulder. "No matter how hard they push, they only go back to where they began. I thought I was stuck like those waves for a very long time." Stuck in my love for you, in my fear of killing you, of losing you forever.
"Our relationship has been like these waves, going back and forth through so much danger. But the water doesn't change. I thought about how you came into my life, changed it, but also kept it the same for me in ways I never knew."
"You're losing me…" I then realized that what I spoke was making no sense to her. I wove my fingers in her thick hair and laughed at my complex analogy.
"I just came to the realization that we have forever with one another. Forgive me for sounding so cryptic. I'm looking forward to spending each and every day like this. Having you with me." I sensed her body relax against mine, and I smiled.
"Mm, I like the sound of that," she murmured, leaning against me. After a few moments of comfortable silence, I heard her beautiful voice again. "Edward, I have a present for you."
"A present?" This intrigued me. What could she give me that outweighed her being by my side?
"I've been training with Jasper; you know that."
"Well, we've been testing out different things my mind can do. And I found out how to do something that I'd like to test on you." Well, that's not worrisome at all. My lips pursed with slight hesitation.
"Test on me? Alright…" If you plan on jetting me through the air like a plane, you have another think coming, Love.
"Great!" Her excitement eluded me as she became frozen in my arms. I sighed, trying to calm myself by closing my eyes and focusing on the smoothness of her skin.
I gasped as a flood of images and voices scattered across my closed eyes.
He's pretty handsome…did he just move here? Why is he looking at me like that?
Bella, sitting in her seat on the first morning I ever saw her, looking at me. I saw myself, stiff and mysterious in her eyes.
Get a hold of yourself, Bella. He's just a guy.
Bella, sitting in her truck, watching as I walk out of the music hall, grumbling angrily at a pack of girls, looking frustrated as she slams a hand at her steering wheel.
Did he just say…I was beautiful?
Bella, gawking at me after I saved her from the Lexicon, in shellshock from my confession.
Why is it that a single twitch of his mouth could make my chest feel like exploding?
Bella, acting rather uncomfortable at the diner, taking notice of all my facial features and body movements.
Date, not a date, can't be a date, maybe it's a date, wait, why would he want to date me?
Bella throughout the luncheon, wondering if I asked her out on a date, trying to figure out why someone as gorgeous as me would want to be seen with her.
The moonlight makes him look an angel. A savior. My savior on too many occasions. He isn't demonic, like the books I read. He is caring, sweet, polite, human.
Bella standing in the middle of the meadow, watching me as I approach her after feeding. I don't look frightening through her eyes; I look magical and strong. More of a protector rather than a monster.
He likes me in this dress? I'm gorgeous? How can he think that way about plain me?
Bella, embarrassed by Alice in the dressing room, yet more nervous about my opinion on her appearance. Wanting me to like how she looks.
Is that all we are? Friends? Do I want to be more than friends with Edward Cullen?
Bella watching me in the bookstore at the mall, taking in all my conversation as she plugs away at more answers, genuinely interested in what I had to say and feel. Feeling lightheaded as her feelings begin to surface. Wanting to be held by me.
So he is only attracted to me because of my blood?
Bella, filled with nerves and fear that I only want her for her blood, feeling crushed that I may not have true feelings for her, like she does me. A twinge of her accepting that I would never want to be with her.
Being kissed by a vampire like Edward Cullen beats out any fairytale ever told.
Bella, breath-taken and amazed during our very first kiss. Clinging onto me as if her life depended on it, enjoying the feel of my mouth on hers.
I've found my own missing puzzle piece, when I wasn't looking for it. I didn't even know I was missing one. But indeed I was, and now I feel complete.
Bella, coming to terms that she desires me in her life, for as long as I'd like to be. Hoping that she doesn't bore me with her humanity; desiring nothing more than to kiss me again.
Stupid, stubborn, vampire.
Bella, laying in her bed and frustrated at how I handled her like she could break. Irritated and thinking that I didn't see her as a strong individual.
I'm in love with a vampire. Who plays music composed for me. Inspired by me. If this is love, I'll take it.
Bella, sitting beside me at my piano, listening to me play my song for her, astonished at my skill and that I wrote something for her. Coming to terms that she may be falling in love with me.
Why would he want to get intimate with a human like me? He's a supermodel! I think he's lying about hurting me so I won't press it.
Bella, questioning my motives for not being more sexual with her. Disgusted with her human body, thinking that I don't find her attractive.
I confessed. He's staring at me like I'm a freak. Oh god, he's gonna run. No. Please don't leave me…
Bella in the hospital, watching me closely as she tells me that she loves me, terrified that I will abandon her or that I will not return the feelings. Hating herself for being so blunt.
How could I have tempted him like that? I really am shit.
Bella, crushed around herself after our fight, sobbing with a heavy dose of self-loathing for shoving her blood in my face, fearing I will never want her again. Blaming herself for everything.
I'm starting to forget his voice. His sweet smell. His face…did I dream him up? Is he being tortured? Edward….I'm dead without you…I wish you were real.
Bella in her bedroom, in a tense fetal position in her bed, watching out into the night through her window, imagining my presence, hoping that I existed.
I'm coming for you, Edward.
Bella boarding the plane, squeezing the Volutri castle maps in er hands and staring out with determination to see me again. To save me for once.
Please look at me…what have they done to you? How am I going to save you? Blood? Yes, take it…please…
Bella, frantically looking over me while I rot in the dungeon cell, appalled at my treatment and sad that I don't recognize her. Feeling my mouth on her skin, gaining a sense of satisfaction that she can do this for me.
Nothing else matters except for you and me. I want to give you all of me.
Bella, looking into my lustful, blood-filled eyes, begging me to touch her. To share myself with her completely. Become one with her. Never wanting to be along again.
Even for someone who's over a hundred, he's acting like a stubborn child!
Bella running around the forest by my house, crying out for me. Angered that no one is considering her feelings on being changed, knowing full well what the consequences and risks are. Wanting the change so we can be safe and together forever.
It's a perfect match. Heat and cold. He and I. Our puzzle is finished. Whole. Complete.
Bella, staring at our joined hands, admiring the glimmering shine of the engagement ring on her finger, accepting my proposal.
I'm going to be his wife. Mrs. Cullen. Will he regret this?
Bella getting ready for the wedding, looking at her mirror reflection and wondering how good she will be as a wife. Doubting her ability to take care of me. Wishing that I like what I see as she walks down the aisle with Charlie, admiring my own appearance.
It's okay to die this way…seeing Edward one last time…
Bella, gazing at my horrified eyes as I hold her broken, bleeding body in my driveway. Overwhelmed from the pain, yet happy that she could die in my arms. That I would be the last thing she would see in life.
Even as a vampire you dazzle me. Damn.
Bella looking at me with lustful eyes, thinking about the times I have dazzled her with a single smile, a glance, a word. Irritated that it still works in this life, yet happy that it was something unchanging from the shift.
I can get used to kissing you for forever…
A montage of images flashed across me, of every embrace, kiss, touch that we had between one another since we met. How every contact made her feel more alive, how it made her feel wanted and loved. Having unbridled happiness with knowing we could continue this for all eternity.
I was at a true loss of words as all the emotions flooded my senses.
Bella had indeed loved me as intensely as I her.
"Bella…how?" I wanted to ask about these thoughts and feelings, but was too taken to formulate the questions. My hands tightened their grip along her.
"This is my wedding present to you," she said. "Never doubt my love for you, Edward. You've had me since day one."
Never again, Love. Never again.
"Thank you. This is the second-best gift I have ever received." I felt like a child on Christmas, getting every single present that I asked for, and then some.
"What's the first?" Bella sounded confused but curious. Was she that naïve? I moved my face to her cheek, chuckling as did so, before lightly kissing her soft skin.
"Still laying it on think, I see," she snorted without amusement. I smiled against her jawline as I left a trail of kisses, stopping at her neck to speak.
"Haha, I thought you understood my need to shower you with compliments, Love." Lord, I would never get enough of my Bella. Even as a vampire, she was irresistible to me. My body began to pine for her, wanting to devour her and make her mine over and over again.
"I'll never understand your need. I just accept it." I continued on my path, leaving lingering kisses down her neck and at her collarbone, taken in by her sweet scent and delicious skin. I knew that I couldn't take much more, between feeling her in front of me, her loving thoughts swirling within my mind, and tasting her on my lips and tongue.
"I need you in other ways, too…" Her body shuddered at my words, making me smile when I realized that the feeling was mutual.
"Now that, that I can understand." I spun around, shoving her playfully against the sand below us. Her eyed were dark as she stared up at me, panting with needless air. Suddenly, it was very apparent that we were wearing too much clothing. Within seconds, the now-shreds of cloth were tossed far from us as I tasted every inch of my adoring wife.
I knew deep down that our lives were not going to be perfect. Forever is a very long time. Though a year to us is a moment for humans. Bella would still have to face the fact that her loved ones would die someday. She would have to adapt to our style of living in areas for only so long before moving. There would always be a possibility that her thirst could rebound and she may attack humans. But, she would also get to achieve the things she dreamed about as a human, and be able to share them with me. She could go onto to get as many degrees as she desired, travel anywhere in the world, read all the books ever written. The possibilities were endless, she told me once. As endless as our love.
For the first time in my long life, I am content with the world.
Author's Note II: Since I know that people who are recently reading this after Starlight Vows are unable to request things from Edward's POV, and I've already gotten messages from people with questions. So I'm extending this invitation out to anyone who would like to know more from Edward. If there is something in Starlight Vows that I didn't cover in his perspective that you'd like to know, shoot me a message, and I can do my best to answer it in his eyes :)