I want to take you far
From the cynics in this town
And kiss you on the mouth
We'll cut our bodies free
From the tethers of this scene
Start a brand new colony

-Brand New Colony by The Postal Service

Chapter Twenty

I knocked on the door, unsure of what I was doing here. I knew I couldn't stay in the house any longer so I had left. But, once I got into the woods, it seemed so empty and quiet. That wasn't what I wanted either. So, I ended up here, at Jacob Black's house.

"Hey there Jasper," Jacob greeted me happily. "Come on in."

I stepped into the house. Billy glanced at me from the kitchen, nodded his head and rolled out the back door, probably to give Jacob and me privacy.

Jacob stepped into the front room and threw himself down on the couch. I took a seat on the floor, curling my legs up to my chest. The scene was reminiscent of my talk with Jacob from weeks ago. This time I wasn't nervous for myself, or for anybody this time. I was just confused and angry.

"Edward is alive."

"What?" Jacob straightened; his mood instantly plummeted at my abrupt announcement.

"Not long after you left two days ago, members of the Vulturi arrived. Edward was with them," I explained dully.

"How is that possible? I thought they had killed him and Alice. What about Alice?"

I cringed and the grief I thought I had come to terms with was pushed forward, taking over. "No, she had died trying to protect Edward. The guilt ate at him and he joined the Volturi temporarily. He finally felt he needed to come clean and he came with the other Volturi members who were supposed to take care of the newborns in Seattle. Needless to say they arrived a little too late."

There was a heavy silence as Jacob took in this information. There was much more to the story, at least in the way that Edward told it. But, I didn't feel like going over every detail with Jacob; it had been bad enough hearing about Edward's every thought and emotion over the last couple of months. I doubted that Jacob really cared what exactly Edward felt on the fifth day of his stay in Volterra.

"How is Bella taking all of this?" Jacob hesitated, looking uncomfortable. "Is she going back to him?"

I shook my head. "She doesn't want anything to do with him. It seems she finally found that anger over what he did to her. But, I couldn't stay in the house any longer so I left for a while; she is giving me space, I think."

I looked down at my wedding ring, still pristine. There were no scratches or blemishes to mar the perfect silver.

"Bella chose me over Edward and I can't help but wonder if that is the right decision. I mean if it had been Alice that had survived..." I trailed off. "Well, I don't know exactly what I would have done."

"But, it wasn't her that survived, and you can play that game all you want but it isn't going to change anything. It was Edward that survived and it is Bella's decision to choose who she wants to be with. Do you doubt her love for you?"

I didn't have to even think about my answer. "No, I know she loves me. But she did love Edward, and I don't want her to stay with me out of some misplaced guilt."

Jacob laughed. "Do you think Bella would stay with you because she felt obligated?"

"I guess not," I admitted. "The situation is still just so fucked up. I mean on a level I am so glad that Edward is alive; he is my brother, after all. But, I feel angry at what he did to all of us, not to mention there is a part of me that blames him for Alice's death. I had finally come to terms with the fact that it was Alice's decision to go to Volterra, and this whole mess makes me rethink all of that. It's harder to say Edward isn't to blame, when he is the one still alive." Just saying that made me feel slightly better.

"That's understandable."

"And, he needs Carlisle and Esme. I know he wants to rejoin the family. But, I don't want to be around him, nor do I want to be with Bella around him. After we defeated Victoria, we were supposed to get a break. This was going to be our chance to start a new life together. Now, though, every time Bella and I are together he is going to be there, ruining everything with his fowl moods and judgment over us."

"You should just have sex with Bella in the next room, loud obnoxious sex. Shove it in his face."

I chuckled. "I considered it."

"But, since you are obviously too mature for that, and the fact Bella would never agree to that, what are you going to do?"

I sighed. That was the crux of the problem. "I don't know. He thinks my actions are somehow dishonoring Alice's memory." Jacob tried to interrupt but I quickly continued. "I know now that is not the case. Bella and I are finally in a good place, on the same page and I don't want to be around somebody who is constantly second guessing us. I feel like Bella and I would be taking a step back in our relationship rather than moving forward."

"Then tell her that. You need to talk to her about this. I bet she feels the same way. Maybe you two can take an extended trip, get away for a while," Jacob suggested.

I had to admit the idea was appealing. "You're right. Ugh, but I really don't want to face Edward."

Jacob smiled, but in a more devious manner. "Don't worry, I will go fetch Bella. You stay here. I have a few choice words I would like to throw Eddy's way."

The anger that had awoken in me two days ago would not leave. Sometimes it was simmering just under the surface and sometimes it would boil over, making me feel volatile. There had been a lot of talking over the last two days, but I hadn't participated in any of it. Esme, who had been overjoyed at the sight of Edward, and Carlisle were the only ones to talk to him so far. Emmett and Rosalie had taken a short trip up to B.C. with Bree to see if they could find her friend. We hadn't heard from them yet, and I imagined they were taking their sweet time, wanting to avoid the whole mess of awkward that was this household.

I didn't avoid; I just hovered on the edge. While Edward explained everything, in painstaking detail, I sat on the steps, listening but not engaging. Jasper had taken an even more hands off approach. He had initially cloistered himself in our room, but as Edwards story unfolded, I think it hurt him too much and he had retreated to the woods. I knew he needed some time, so I gave him space. Hearing how Alice had died made the grief fresh for Jasper, and he needed to come to terms with her death all over again. I understood because I was doing the same.

The first day Edward had chronicled how the Volturi had initially denied his appeal to die and thus he had decided to take a more active approach to push the Voluturi's hand. Alice had gotten to him in Volterra, pushing him out of the way so that she had been the one exposed in the sunlight. Members of the guard had caught them and instantly started fighting them. Alice and he had tried to fend them off, but Alice had been killed then and there. Edward had put up no more resistance seeing that Alice had died in order to save him. He knew he couldn't die. She sacrificed herself for him and guilt would not allow that deed to go in vain. However, he couldn't face the Cullens so he told Aro to fabricate a lie about how they both had died. He hadn't seen Aro much since that day; obviously Aro had been trying to keep the information that I was alive away from Edward.

When the newborn situation had arisen in Seattle, Edward had started to doubt whether or not he had made the right choice by hiding away from the family. He decided to join Jane, Felix, and Dimitri, the two other men I had seen in the clearing, to Seattle to take care of the newborns. One way or the other he was planning on coming to talk to Cullens. Aro was reluctant to let him go, but obviously could not stop him.

Esme and Carlisle had listened to this story with compassion and understanding. However, when the conversation had steered to the family, more specifically Jasper and I, they had refused to answer. They firmly told Edward that they would not divulge any information about our personal relationship, which was a relief to me. He was also supposed to give us distance. They did tell how the family had coped with the loss of both of them, not sugar coating the grief that had permeated the family. Carlisle also explained the details surrounding my transformation, Victoria's army, and the wolves assistance. Edward didn't seem pleased about my friendship with Jacob, but Carlisle stressed how much Jacob had come to mean to all of them. Edward accepted this information, albeit reluctantly.

My eavesdropping on the stairs was cut short though by the sound of Rosalie's car entering the garage. I went to meet them, curious as to whether they found Bree's friend. Carlisle, Esme, and Edward joined me in the garage. I avoided eye contact with Edward, pretending he didn't exist. It wasn't hard when I saw the expression on Bree as she got out of the car. I didn't have to see Rosalie shake her head to understand they were not successful.

I wrapped my arm around Bree's shoulder, and was happy that she didn't shove it off. I led her into the house, upstairs to my room. Luckily only Emmett and Rosalie followed. I heard quiet talking downstairs, probably Edward sharing even more of his feelings with Esme and Carlisle. Good, I didn't want to be around him.

Without speaking a word, Bree crawled into my bed, pulling the covers over her. I frowned, not needing Jasper's power to know how she was feeling. I sat on the edge of the bed and stroked her hair while Emmett and Rosalie spoke.

"We went to the park where he was supposed to be, Fred's his name, but he wasn't there. We missed him probably by a few hours and we couldn't pick up any traces of him. She had horrible control so she had to stay in the car. It's probably for the best if she isn't around any humans for a while," Rosalie explained.

"On the way there, she told us about her other friend Diego who was probably killed by Victoria right before the battle. These two vampires were the only friends she had," Emmett spoke sadly.

"Bree," I whispered. "I know it doesn't feel like it right now, but it will get better. And we can keep looking for Fred and Carlisle and Esme will help you gain control of your blood cravings. You have a place with this family."

We all waited quietly, but there was no response. I knew she had heard us. I didn't want to bother her, knowing she had been through a lot in the last couple days, probably since she had been turned actually. I motioned for Emmett and Rosalie to follow me out of the room. It was best if we just gave her a little bit of space. I let out a frustrated sigh, wondering if that was all I was good for.

We stood in the hallway, a little awkwardly. Downstairs Edward, Carlisle, and Esme were talking and I was in no hurry to go back to my perch at the bottom of the stairs.

"What are we supposed to do?" Emmett whispered.

I didn't know if he was asking about right in this moment or as a family as a whole. Either way, I didn't have an answer.

Rosalie made an angry noise. "This is just ridiculous. He just waltzes back in to this family, and we are expected to rearrange ourselves to meet his needs."

I wanted to agree, but I couldn't. "He needs Esme and Carlisle. One way or the other we are all family."

"You're right," Emmett agreed.

"Even so, where does that leave us?" Rosalie hissed.

I couldn't answer, though. The sound of the door being banged open disrupted the relative quiet in the house. I darted down the stairs, panicked. Jacob stood in the doorway and it took me a minute to catch on to what he was saying because of the long string of profanities he started off with.

"You have the fucking nerve to show up here after everything you put this family through? The moment this family returns to some sense of normalcy and Jasper and Bella find some happiness you decide throw that all out the window."

"Jacob," Carlisle warned.

"No, see the beauty of this situation is I can say what you are all probably thinking. I can say that you all were doing just fine until this pretentious asshat showed up again," Jacob's voice was biting, but I could tell he was enjoying this. "You destroyed Bella when you and your family left. And Charlie and I were left to pick up the pieces. I finally thought Bella was going to make it through the whole situation, when the Italy fiasco happened. And she broke down again. But then she amazed me. She found the strength to not only carry on, but she helped your family, the one you abandoned, to heal. Bella is truly an extraordinary person. But, something else I have learned over the past months, though, is how amazing this whole family is. I quickly learned how kind each member of this family is. I grew to care for each of them and I wouldn't want harm to befall any of them. Yet you decide to show up here and you are hurting them. You are hurting my family by being here."

Jacob let out a breath, obviously feeling better getting that off his chest. I could tell everybody, well except maybe Edward, was impressed by Jacob's words and I had to say I appreciated his effort in protecting us. By the look on his face, I guessed Edward would have like to punched Jacob, but obviously that would have not ended well.

Jacob turned to me. "Jasper's at my house. He came over to visit with me and we got to talking. He wants to talk to you but he doesn't want to see this douchebag." Jacob pointed to Edward, as if there was any question about who he was talking about. "I told him I would come get you."

I looked around at my family and wondered if I should leave them like this. Once, again I felt the anger rise in me. I shouldn't have to question my actions with my own family, that is the point of family. I detested the negative feelings that were bubbling under the surface. I had to get out of this house. I didn't say anything; I turned and left, breaking out into a run in the direction of Jacob's house. I heard Jacob's car start up behind me and knew he was heading back as well.

I let the wind blowing across my face cool my nerves. I felt on edge and wanted to calm down before I saw Jasper. I wasn't angry at him and I didn't want him to misunderstand my emotions. I breathed deep breaths, trying to get a handle over my emotions as the woods thinned around the reservation. I caught sight of Jacob's house and hurried towards it, not wanting to push my luck and encounter too many humans. I didn't bother knocking, entering the house.

I came in to find Jasper sitting on the ground, his arms wrapped around his knees. I stepped closer to sit across from him. I leaned forward, putting my hands on his arms, tilting my head to meet his eyes.

"Jasper?" I asked cautiously, not exactly sure what mood he was in.

"Isabella," he replied quietly, giving me a tentative smile. "I love you."

"I know that," I assured him. "I love you too."

"I want us to go away for a while, get away from this whole mess."

I paused before answering. "But, isn't that running from our problems? This isn't going to fixed if we just go away."

"No it won't," Jasper agreed. "But, we don't need to be fixed, Edward does. We can't help him. He needs to come to terms with how the family has changed without him, that includes our relationship. But, we can't just be shoving it in his face."

"That kind of makes sense."

"And I think you and I deserve to be selfish. We were supposed to be starting our new life together and I want us to have that opportunity. We can travel across the country, maybe we could visit Peter and Charlotte."

I grinned at the prospect. "I would love to meet them."

"I think we need this. Edward is a part of this family, but he needs time to heal. I think Esme and Carlisle can help him."

I nodded. "I will go with you then, on one stipulation."

"And that is?" Jasper raised his eyebrows in expectation.

"I think Rosalie and Emmett should come with us, at least for part of the time. They need this too."

"Emmett will be thrilled, he loves road trips."

And just like that I felt some of the anger dissipate from my body.

I felt a little nervous sitting across from Carlisle and Esme. I didn't know how they were going to take our news. I shifted a little in my seat at the dining room table, where I had asked to speak to them privately. Bree was still upstairs, not having moved from her spot. Emmett and Rosalie were packing and Bella had asked Edward to take step outside with her; she wanted to talk to him privately before we left.

"Is it anything bad?" Esme asked me, worriedly.

"No not at all," I assured her.

"You can tell us, whatever it is," Carlisle told me calmly.

I went over one last times the words I had rehearsed in my head, before diving in. "Emmett, Rosalie, Bella, and I want to take a trip."

"What kind of trip?" Carlisle asked curiously.

"In all honesty, we need a break from this. This situation is becoming toxic to us and we need to get away. We thought we would do a road trip for a couple months. Bella has never traveled much so we thought it would be fun. We might try to meet up with Peter and Charlotte."

Esme frowned. "We don't want this to tear apart our family."

I knew she would jump to this conclusion. "It isn't going to. Trust me, we are all happy that Edward is alive, but honestly we are all hurt about how this has unraveled. We are all angry and that isn't going to help the situation any. Edward needs you two; you guys can help him. And maybe with some space for all of us, we can come to terms with this better. We aren't leaving the family, far from it. But, all of us confronting Edward isn't going to help. He needs to learn to accept that Bella and I are married, and that isn't going to happen with us flaunting our relationship."

Esme looked like she wanted to argue, but Carlisle patted her hand and spoke up first. "I think that might be a good idea."

"Are you serious?" Esme exclaimed.

"Esme, it will be too much stress to have everybody in the house, especially if they aren't happy. Not to mention we have Bree to handle."

"All the more reason for them to stay," Esme argued.

"Just look at it as Jasper and Bella's honeymoon...with two tag alongs."

I crinkled my brow at the idea, but it seemed to appease Esme a little. "You two have been through a lot. Maybe you should take some time and enjoy your relationship."

Relief flooded me. "That's all we want to do. I promise we will be back before you know it, and we are going to keep in contact."

"When are you going to leave?" Carlisle asked.

"In just a bit actually. Rosalie and Emmett are upstairs packing for all of us and loading things into the jeep. Bella is outside saying goodbye to Edward as we speak."

Edward and I took a few steps out into the yard, and I marveled at the beauty of this place one last time. I knew it may be a while before we were back here. The setting sun gave the yard an other worldly beauty. We both sparkled from the fading light. I remembered vaguely how once I had been entranced by his beauty, dazzled by him. But, those once familiar emotions were no longer there.

"Edward, I wanted to talk to you a little before we leave."

"You're leaving?" Edward asked, incredulous.

I sighed, wishing he would just make this easy for me. "Jasper, Emmett, Rosalie, and I are going to take a vacation, so to speak. We are going on a road trip."

Edward nodded, but I could tell he wasn't pleased. His face was strained, and I noticed again how hollow his features looked and felt a wave of sadness for him. I knew technically I was wronged by him, but he had suffered too.

"We want to give you some time with Esme and Carlisle, and honestly we need some time of our own."

"Are you going to come back?" Edward asked, tensely.

"Of course. We aren't leaving this family, and we don't want you too either. But, in order for us to get better you are going to have to accept Jasper and I. We know that isn't going to happen overnight."

"I don't know if I can. I just don't understand why you two are together. Is it because you were both grieving?"

I was a little offended by his assumption, but I knew it wasn't that unreasonable idea. After all, Jasper and I questioned our own motives as well. "I can't say why he fell in love with me, but I can say why I fell in love with him. He was a friend when I needed one. He listened to me and respected me. He let me make my own decisions." I knew my voice was slightly accusing but I didn't really care.

"I never wanted you to become a vampire and I couldn't let you make a mistake in becoming one of us."

"But, I haven't regretted becoming a vampire," I contested.

"Yet," Edward muttered.

I took a deep breath. "Jasper, and the rest of the family for that matter, let that decision be mine nonetheless. Maybe I will regret my choice, but I will at least be happy that it was my choice."

We fell into silence again. This wasn't how I wanted this to go. "Look, I just want to say, I hope you can accept both my transformation and my husband," I bit out. "If you really want what is best for our family, then you will acknowledge my decisions and accept them. Okay?"

Edward turned to actually look at me. "I understand."

I nodded, taking our conversation for over and headed back towards the house to check on how Rosalie was doing in packing my stuff.

"Bella?" Edward called out.

I paused, turning to look at him. "Yes?"

"I really am sorry. This isn't how I imagined things would happen for us."

The words, surprisingly had a calming effect on me. "Me either. But, I just did the best I could with what I was given."

There was really nothing else to say so I went back into the house. I dashed up the stairs into my room where Rosalie was currently packing my clothes. I noticed that my bed was empty.

"Where's Bree?" I asked.

"She is in Jasper and Alice's old room," Rosalie answered. "I tried talking to her, but she said she just wanted some quiet, so she went to the other room. Do you want any books for the trip?"

I frowned. I felt bad leaving Bree, but I knew she couldn't come with us, and honestly Carlisle and Esme would be best at helping her. I knew that, so I focused on the task at hand. I glanced at the shelves upon shelves of books. I hated to choose only a few books. I decided to go on instinct, grabbing a decent handful, trying to pick a variety. I took them over to the duffle bag that Rosalie had packed with clothes and toiletries, shoving the books in until the bag was packed to the brim. We struggled for a second, but were able to eventually zip the bag up.

I carried the bag downstairs and went to throw it in the jeep. I looked in the trunk and saw that there were three other bags in there as well. It looked like we were packed and ready to go. I went back into the house and saw everybody waiting in the foyer. I hated goodbyes.

I went forward giving Esme a tight hug. She stroked my hair briefly, whispering that she loved me and that I should have fun. I turned to Carlisle and gave him a hug as well. Rosalie, Emmett, and Jasper followed me in saying goodbye to the family.

"You guys take care and call if you need anything. You have passports and enough money?" Carlisle asked.

"Yeah," Jasper told him. "We will be in contact shortly, telling you where we end up."

"Good," Esme responded. "And send postcards. I want to hear about everything."

We nodded. We stood awkwardly for a second, not knowing what else to say.

"Well, I guess we should get on the road," Emmett spoke.

We said one last quick goodbye before heading out to the jeep. We climbed in, Emmett driving and Roslie in shotgun. Jasper and I sat in the back seat. I scooted closer to him as Emmett started up the vehicle and headed down the driveway. I glanced behind me one last time, seeing Esme and Carlisle standing on the porch waving at us. I waved back until we were out of sight.

Jasper put his arm around me, pulling me next to him. I leaned against his chest, looking up into his face. I was pleased to see his features were smooth, and he seemed to be exuding a sense of calm to everybody in the car. I snuggled closer, glancing to see Rosalie and Emmett were holding hands. We were all happy to take this step forward. I didn't know exactly where we were going or what the future held, but I was excited to find out.

The End

A/N: That's the end folks. I hope you enjoyed this. I can't begin to expres how pleased I am with all of the great reviews I've gotten. Even if they weren't completely positive, they were always constructive which is much appreciated. This has been almost three years in the making and it is kind of amazing I've finished. I'm kind of proud to have finally written something novel length and that made it over 100,000 words. This chapter isn't my favorite, but but I really wanted to wrap things up tightly. I hope you enjoyed it.

As of right now there are no plans for a sequel. I'm not going to say I would never write one, but right now there are only vague ideas and this took me 2 and a half years to write, so even if by chance I started to write one it wouldn't be for a very long time. I don't post something unless I'm finished with it to avoid unfinished stories.

Thanks again for all of the reviews and please send me one last one to tell me whether or not overall you liked the story and how it ended. You all are amazing readers and it's been fun!