Song: You'll Be in My Heart – youtube dot com/watch?v=H0sGFG5w7AU&feature=related
This song goes out to all of you that have been on this journey with me and to those who will go on it with me in the future. THANK YOU!
Thank you to Tam for prereading and being so encouraging. To the best husband and beta ever thank you so much for being understanding, I love you.
Chapter Song: Love like Crazy by Lee Brice – youtube dot com/watch?v=Nt5LzrJZ34Q
Chapter 37 – EVER AFTER
The thunderstorm continued to brew as lightening streaked across the sky, followed quickly by large claps of thunder. The rain had made a mess of things for the past several days, almost coming to a stop and then picking back up again.
Jacob took a shaky breath as he picked up the phone, calling a number that he knew well. It rang for half a second before it was answered. "Edward, it's time." Jacob said, his voice rough from age and weak from the long hours he has spent by his wife's side.
"I'm on my way." Edward said and the line went dead.
Jacob's hand shook slightly as he hung up and placed the phone on the end table beside the bed. He took the pale hand of Bella and ran his fingers over her withered skin. Leaning forward in the worn cloth covered chair that he sat in beside her, he rested his elbows on their bed, taking her hand in his, kissing the back of her hand. She was resting peacefully, but the home nurse told him that most likely the next time she awoke it would be for the last time.
Jacob would never forget the phone call that changed their life forever, Bella had cancer. It was a long two year battle of chemo, surgery, and monthly testing, but they made it. However thirty-six years later the cancer had spread and for the past two years they have been fighting a losing battle.
Bella had lived a long life and at 81 years old she was ready to go. Jacob would never be ready to say goodbye, but even he was tired of watching her getting weaker and weaker. Also everyone knew that she was in a lot of pain, or she would have been if it weren't for the extensive pain medication she was on. The medication made her loopy and she often would forget who people were, with the exception of Jacob and Edward, she asked for them both regularly.
"Jake," Bella whispered, her eyes fluttered open groggily.
"Hey Beautiful," Jacob said, each time she opened her eyes and he ran his hand through her thin, short, gray hairs.
Bella smiled back at him. "You are such a liar." Was the same response that she gave him.
"No, never." Jacob shook his head.
"Come sit with me," Bella shifted on the bed, the blankets falling down to her waist, revealing an old flannel shirt. It was Jacob's shirt and would have swallowed her whole even if she wasn't close to 25 pounds underweight.
Jacob got on the bed, lifting his arm for her to place her head on his chest and then rested his arm down her side, placing it on her hip. "Are you comfortable?" He asked her.
"Now who is the liar?" Jacob challenged.
Bella looked at him, pleading with him to let it go. "I want to be me and if that means that I hurt a little then so be it. I don't want to be numb and not feel your arms around me or . . ." Bella leaned up and Jacob met her halfway their lips touching briefly. ". . . or your kiss."
Asher's wife, Treanna, saw Bella shiver slightly and got an additional blanket from the oak chest and opened it wide to lay it over Bella and Jacob.
"Thank you." Jacob told her, tucking the blanket around Bella.
The doorbell chimed and Asher went to answer it, coming back with Edward by his side. Of Bella and Jacob's immediate family only Asher and Treanna knew about vampires or werewolves so explaining Edward was sometimes difficult. Edward was rarely seen by the other family members, but over the last year he visited more often so it couldn't always be avoided. When asked Edward lied, saying that his grandfather and Bella were once very close friends. Most of the kids knew of the Cullens so it worked as a reasonable explanation.
"Edward," Bella smiled, slowly shifting up some so that her back was now against Jacob's chest and grimaced slightly in pain. Once settled, she lifted her hand towards Edward as he came and sat on the side of the bed. It was so difficult for Edward to see her like this and sometimes wondered to himself if he made the right decision to suck out the poison that James had put in her long ago. Edward looked at Jacob laying behind her and the family pictures scattered around the room and knew that if he had the option to do it over again he would have made the exact same decision. He had many regrets and knew that he had made several mistakes along the way, but was confident that preserving Bella's humanity was not one of them.
Jacob was so grateful for the time that he had with Bella and wouldn't have traded it for anything. He wrapped his arms around her tightly, placing one across her chest, pressing his palm over her heart. He could feel the soft beats against his skin and cherished each one of them. All three of them knew that her time was coming to an end, but none of them wanted to say the dreaded words out loud. Bella took each of their hands, threading her fingers through theirs' and glanced slowly between them both. This was something that was very common for the three of them and Bella would often fall asleep holding onto both of them.
Bella could also feel her time was coming. She had felt so weak and lost the past several weeks, but today she was more coherent and could think clearly. It felt so wonderful. Not knowing how many more days she would have like this, she decided to do something that she had meant to do long ago. Treanna brought Bella a drink of water and after she took a small sip Bella asked her to bring her jewelry box. Jacob and Edward watched her curiously neither knowing what Bella wanted it for. Bella took out her charm bracelet, set it in her lap and then reached in and pulled a white velvet pouch.
"Thank you," Bella told Treanna as she closed the lid and then handed it to her to place it back on the dresser.
Bella's hands shook as she opened the pouch and out came the white brooch that Alice had given to her to wear in her wedding. Bella would have returned it sooner, but did not realize that it had been packed away with her wedding dress until her granddaughter asked if she could wear her dress for her wedding. Alice had told Bella that she could keep it, but Bella didn't want to do that and made sure that the brooch was not packed away when the dressed was put away after the wedding.
"Edward," Bella whispered, as she placed the brooch in his hand. "When Alice loaned this to me to wear she told me that each Cullen couple wore this at their wedding." Bella licked her lips slowly. "I want you to wear it in yours."
Edward closed his eyes, not able to look into hers for a moment. "Bella, you know that I will never marry."
"Yes, you will. Look at me." Bella insisted. Edward, not able to resist anything that Bella told him to do, raised his eyes to hers and she leaned forward, cupping his cheek. "If you do it for me, eventually if will be what you want as well. She will be extremely luck to have you, whoever she is. You deserve better than the memory of a love that once was."
Edward wanted to give her the answer she wanted to hear, but had learned that honesty worked best and he slowly shook his head. "I would do anything for you, but I can't promise you that."
Bella shook her head. "Don't tell me that you can't change or you never would have loved me. And . . ." Bella leaned back her hand falling from his face, landing on his knee as she looked at Jacob then back at Edward. "And don't tell me that you can't love more than one person."
Bella's love for Edward was very different than her love for Jacob. For Edward he was one of her very best friends who would do anything for her and she couldn't help loving that. As for romantic feelings they were part of her past and she didn't have any desire to go back to that time. Jacob fully understood their relationship after being with them over the years. There was nothing for Jacob to be jealous of, he had Bella's heart and soul, the part of her that would also belong to Edward made Bella who she was and Jacob loved that part as well.
"You don't have to stop loving me in order to love someone else." Bella continued. "That is all I am asking for, promise me to try and to love again."
Edward looked down and then up into the beautiful chocolate brown eyes that he loved so much. "Alright, I promise." Edward nodded his head towards Jacob. "Does he have to love someone else too?"
Jacob frowned back at him and Bella leaned her head against Jacob's shoulder, tilting it to the side to look up at him. "Only if he wants to stay here and live forever, then I would want him to find someone else as well."
Jacob shook his head. "I gave up that option long ago." He leaned in Bella, wrapping his arms around his wife, kissing the top of her head. "And I don't regret it at all."
Bella turned in his arms, cringing slightly even that small movements made her short of breath. "And you two better not kill each other, because if one or both of you end up in heaven right after me I'm not speaking to either one of you."
Bella knew them both well, but Jacob didn't really want to kill Edward even if Edward wanted him to and Jacob was a roll model in the community and would be strong. Jacob and Edward glanced at each other, Edward could hear the beats of her heart falter. After speaking with her family earlier that morning Bella had wanted them both there with her, but Edward felt like Jacob had shared her enough and wanted to give them this time alone.
Edward shifted, placing his hand on Bella's knee. "I'll see you tomorrow." Edward said, knowing that it most likely wouldn't be true.
Bella knew that as well and placed her hand over hers. The youthful perfection of Edward's hand was a striking contrast to Bella's frail wrinkled hand. "Take care of yourself." Bella smiled.
Edward lifted her hand and kissed the back of her hand. "I will." His voice lowered into a soft whisper that neither of them could hear. "I love you."
Bella shifted painfully, reaching out her arms to him. Edward met her half way and hugged her tiny body. They held onto each other for awhile, Edward listened to her heart and breathed in her scent before he gently leaned her back so that she rested against Jacob.
Jacob wrapped his arms around Bella as Edward made a quiet exit, going for a run, the rain outside covered his face providing the tears that he wasn't able to shed. Bella cried softly her tears moistening into Jacob's shirt. He reached over and tucked the blanket further around her desperate for anything he could do to make her feel better. She sighed painfully and Jacob called to Asher for Bella to get more pain medication, knowing that it would mostly likely cause her to sleep once again. It took some convincing to get Bella to actually take it, but the anguish in Jacob's eyes at seeing his wife suffer was what made her finally agree to it. Bella settled back comfortably in Jacob's arms and looked around at their room filled with memories of the life that she had shared with the man she loved.
She lifted the charm bracelet from her lap and looked through the twenty-two charms that were a collection of her life story. There was the sun, a shell from the beach, her truck, two motorcycles resting next to each other, a diamond heart, Jacob's wolf, Asher's wolf, a book, a conversation heart, a stock pot, and many more that the kids and other friends have given her.
"Thank you, Jake. You have been my . . ." Bella sighed, trying to find the words, but couldn't, "my everything and I wouldn't change a thing."
"I wouldn't either." Jacob said, rubbing his hands down her arms.
"Will you be okay, Jake? You know after . . ." Not wanting to finish her sentence, but Jacob didn't need her to, he knew that she was asking about after she was gone.
"I don't know." He answered honestly. "What do you want me to do?"
Bella smiled and chuckled softly to herself. "You know the usual. Stay out way too late with the boys, chasing girls. Drive our kids crazy with 'war' stories that they never would believe are true and be the general trouble maker that I know and love."
Jacob nodded slowly, her smile spreading across his face as she spoke. "I can do that."
They settled into a comfortable silence that was normal for them. Bella curled herself into Jacob's side and Jacob tucked her hair behind her ear, leaned down, and kissed her forehead. Jacob could feel her breath against the side of his neck and closed his own eyes, resting his cheek on her head. He cherished every moment that he had with her, and if she were healthy and active he would be fighting her death with everything he had, but they were both tired and wanted peace and rest.
"I love you, Bells." He could feel her body relaxing and knew that she would be sleeping soon.
Bella licked her chapped lips slowly. "I . . . I love . . . you, Ja . . . ke." She whispered before falling asleep.
Jacob stayed there rubbing her softly and it wasn't long before he no longer felt her chest rise and fall against his body or her breath against his skin. He knew her time had come. He cried softly, holding her against his chest. Treanna heard Jacob and called the rest of the family.
Bella had been very loved in the community, which was shown in the support and love that they provided Jacob and his family. Jacob lived another 18 years, spending his time with the youth of the community, very similar to what Billy had done. Him and Quil were the 'grumpy old men' of La Push or at least they pretended to be, but in truth everyone loved them and most of the time they made everyone around them laugh. Embry and Jackie had remarried, twelve years after their divorce and Embry never did imprint. All of the pack members ended up living longer than their spouses, but they had each other for support until the end.
After Bella and Jacob's death the Cullen's parted ways from the Volturi with one more member. To fulfill his promise to Bella, Edward made an honest effort to take care of himself and to love again. Myriam was part of the guard with a specialty in speed. She could make Edward appear slow in comparison. However, when the Cullens left Edward knew that the wolves would be very hard to control and unless Alec made them immobile there was no way they would let Aro touch them to know their thoughts. Everyone knew that the wolves main thought was 'I'm going to kill you' and making constant plans to do so, therefore it was simply a matter of time before they acted on it or Aro decided to destroy the wolves. No one knew which one it would be.
However Myriam wanted nothing more to do with the guard and had adapted to the Cullen's animal diet, therefore she requested to join the Cullen family. Myriam was 200 years older than Edward and at one time had a mate that was also part of the guard, but he was killed in battle. Myriam had always known about Bella and was hoping that Edward would one day love her back. Edward made no promises, but was willing to try.
(* * * * * * * *)
100 years later
Walking through the sacred grounds one early morning a young teenage girl found a sterling silver case, nestled between the thick grass that surrounded the head stone of Isabella Black. She bent down and picked up the case, wiped away the dew and saw a lion with a lamb tucked into its side, both of them sleeping. She thought it was beautiful and was surprised when her fingers accidentally pressed the small clasp and a small note fluttered to the ground.
Feeling slightly guilty, but too curious to stop herself, she unfolded the thick parchment and written in elegant script, obviously from another time period was:
Bella, I kept my promise. - Edward.
She didn't know what it meant and took the case, promising to return it on her next visit to the graves. Once home she brought the case and note to her great-grandmother.
"Great Nans, do you know what this means?" The young woman asked.
The elder woman took the case and note, read the simple words, and smiled. "William dear," she whispered to the old man next to her, handing him the note.
William nodded slowly, glancing at his wife "I agree, now would be a good time." He lifted himself from the kitchen chair and walked slowly into the living room. From the bookshelf he pulled a thick, hardback book and sat down in his worn leather recliner with a soft sigh.
The girl watched her great-grandparents curiously and gasped slightly when she saw her own name written across the cover of the book.
"I would like to read you a story," he cleared his throat, "Bella's Sun."
Bella smiled still very curious and curled up on the couch, pulled an afghan over her lap and listened, not knowing the story being read was true.
William began to read . . .
Saturdays were the best, I could do anything that I wanted to do, except for sleep in. Dad always needed my help getting into his clothes and starting the day. I don't mind, he was always real patient with me and would usually sit in his bed and read until I woke up and got him ready. I left the warm comfort of my sheets and raised my arms above my head to stretch...
(to continue go to Jacob's New Moon – www dot fanfiction dot net/s/6487479/1/bJacobs_b_bNM_b)
Final Song: Storybook Love from Princess Bride
youtube dot com/watch?v=4GHw1Cl8-KY