Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer is the writer and owner and creator of all things Twilight. Jess and I well we borrowed her characters made our own storyline, and we proudly own that.
This is it everyone, Jess and I wrote separate notes at the bottom. Thanks for reading.
Lipstick Kisses And Inked Virtuoso: Epilogue
Five Years Later. . .
This day has been one of remembrance for me, and one of joy. I am surrounded by everyone I love, and I couldn't be happier. "Aunt Bella," Bree calls, pulling me from my thoughts once again. "Here, this is from Uncle Edward, and Matthew said to tell you that you look really pretty. Maddie and I are all ready, and Matthew is with the guys now. Everyone is dressed and waiting and Grandma Esme says everything will be good to go in ten minutes."
Opening the note, I see Edward's perfect penmanship.
My sweet love, I can't wait to see you.
I missed you so much last night.
See you soon, I love you. E~
It is hard to believe how big Maddie and Bree are now. There is only a year separating them, but they are almost the same exact size. At eight and nine years old, they are both as proud as can be to be junior bridesmaids today.
Alice and Jasper have been married for about four years now, and their two year old daughter, Stephanie, is the flower girl. She is the perfect mix of her parents, with Alice's looks, and Jasper's calm demeanor.
Maddie and Matthew have lived with Edward and me for the past four years. We took legal guardianship of them a few years ago, because Marie was fighting cancer and wanted to make sure the kids had a safe place to stay. In the beginning, Marie and the kids all moved with us; Marie was no longer able to care for herself or her children because of her health. Marie's biggest fear was that her children would have no one after she was gone. In many ways, she became my best friend, and I will forever be grateful to her for sharing her wonderful children with Edward and me. Edward's entire family loves the kids as much as we do, and Esme and Carlisle even helped us set up college funds for them.
I hear the music starting as we get closer to the entrance, and I watch as the girls make their way down the aisle together. It's crazy how they are nearly inseparable. Even Matthew usually hangs around with them. They are like the three musketeers, and with Matthew being the oldest at ten, he is the ring leader.
When it is my turn to walk down the aisle, I can't take my eyes off of Edward. He looks so amazing standing up there in his tuxedo; so tall and handsome, and at thirty-two, he still looks nineteen. God I love my sexy man and I give him a sly smile. Through the entire wedding, our eyes never break contact.
The vows go by fast, and the pictures seem to take forever. Finally, at the reception, I am happy to be in Edward's arms again. Everyone insisted upon having a traditional wedding night, so of course it was Rose, Alice, Esme, Maddie, Bree, June, and I, all in a big hotel suite. I missed being with my man so much last night, that I've barely let him out of my arms tonight. The seating at dinner is a little different. There is no head table because everyone wanted to sit together in more of a family setting. So we are all sitting at an enormous table, surrounded by all of our family and friends as the toasts begin.
"I never thought the day would come when you would ever manage to get her to marry you." Everyone chuckles. "I can honestly say that I have never seen the bride look as lovely as she does today. The groom, eh…well, not so much." More laughter bursts out from around the room. "Seriously though, I have known these two for what seems like forever. The way these two are made for each other, I guess it can only be compared to the great loves of the other couples around our table and around the room. There is a lot to say for finding your true love and soul mate.
"I am a lucky person to have found mine already, and today we are all here to celebrate the true, undying love of another pair of soul mates that are destined to be together. Separately, they are wonderful and caring people. Together, they are great parents, great people, and the best of friends anyone could ask for.
"So, as the best man of this event, I ask you all to raise your glass and help me toast the newly married couple. To Emmett and Rose McCarty," Edward says as he raises his glass high in the air before clinking it against mine and then taking a sip. With the sound of cheers and applause filling the room, Rose and Emmett stand to hug him after the toast.
Since the newlyweds had their first dance already, I smile at Edward. I know he reads my mind, because he stands and reaches out his hand. "Mrs. Cullen, would you please join me on the floor? I think they are playing our song next."
"I would love to," I say, taking the hand of my wonderful husband.
As we dance through several songs, I can't help but think back to our wedding. Five years ago, Edward took me out for our first real date as a couple. He was so nervous, but then again, so was I. When he asked me to be his girlfriend, I counter offered to be his wife someday. The smile that crossed his face was like turning on a bright light in a darkened room.
The following Monday, we had dinner with Marie and the kids at his place. I will never forget when Marie asked me if I could go to another appointment with her the next day. She was scared to go alone, but I didn't blame her at all. That Tuesday impacted all of our lives, in so many ways. After sitting at the hospital with her for more than ten hours that day, she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Within days, she was scheduled to undergo a double mastectomy.
Edward and I agreed to care for the kids during Marie's hospital stay and recovery. That began our involvement deep into Matthew and Maddie's lives. The day before her surgery, the judge had granted the temporary order of guardianship to Edward and me.
Edward had a four bedroom condo, so we all moved in there. Even though Edward and I were not back to being intimate, we shared a room to give each of the children their own room. Marie also had her own bedroom when she was released and started her intensive chemotherapy treatments. After six grueling months of chemotherapy, she was given a clean bill of health, having beaten the breast cancer. Two months later, she fell ill again, and was diagnosed with an untreatable, fast-spreading lung cancer. This was very hard on her, and as strong as she was, her biggest fear was still her children's welfare.
After living together and caring for the kids together for six months, I had given up my apartment. Before we knew it, we had consolidated three full apartments into one. Marie's savings and medical insurance went a long way to cover all of her bills, but we couldn't keep paying her rent for her. We held fundraisers at the community center that helped pay off the rest of her medical bills, and we managed to set aside some money to help the kids with college when the time came.
Edward and I married two weeks before Marie died. The funeral was very small, and we buried her in one of the Cullen family plots. Marie was an orphan, and never knew anything about her parents. She met her husband in one of the foster homes she lived in as a teenager; he never had any family either. Once they were both eighteen, they married. Her husband joined the Navy, and was stationed all over the world.
Marie ended up in Seattle when he was transferred to Bremerton Naval Station, and then deployed to the Middle East. He was killed in a freak accident, when a cargo supply plane crashed. There were no remains, so he was never really laid to rest. Marie chose to be buried with the small box of ashes that she had to represent her husband. There is a double headstone over the grave with a photo of them as a couple.
Matthew and Maddie Cullen were legally adopted by Edward and me the same day as our wedding. Both the marriage and the adoption were all signed, sealed, and stamped, in the magistrate judge's chambers at the courthouse. Marie wanted us to be their parents, and to know that they were safe with us. Esme told me that she thought Marie waited to die until she knew that they would be safe with us forever.
We learned a year after her death, that we were unable to have children of our own; I was devastated. After going back to our therapist for a while, I came to the realization that I was very lucky to have the two wonderful children I did have. I worry all the time that one day I will wig out and become crazy like Renee.
Edward hugs me closer as we continue to dance. "You just thought of her again, didn't you? I can always tell."
I smile up at him, and lean up to kiss his lips. "Yeah, you know weddings and birthdays and all those things always make me reminisce."
"Bella, she is gone; there is no way that she can ever hurt us again. You will never be like her. You are a wonderful mother to Matt and Maddie. I love you, and I will always love you."
"I will always love you, too, Edward," I say as I kiss his soft lips.
Renee died two years ago. I can't say I'm sad about it, either. At first I was, but once the shock wore off, I felt so much better, lighter even. I thought I was a horrible person, but I guess my reaction was normal. I was afraid I had gone off the deep end for sure. My therapist said I was using her as a crutch, but I didn't see it that way at the time. Later, I found myself agreeing with her. I worried that one day I would go crazy, but I guess we would have known by now if that were the case.
Before Renee died, I went to visit her. After that visit, I was asked to never come back. That was no skin off my back, though. Edward was so mad at me for going to see her, but I felt like I needed some sort of closure. I couldn't marry Edward without closing the Renee door forever.
"Hi, I'm Isabella Swan. I have an appointment to see Renee Dwyer," I said as my heart started to race and my palms grew clammy. After being searched, I was shown to a cafeteria sort of room. As soon as the door opened, I came face to face with the woman that I didn't want to haunt my dreams anymore.
"Why are you here?" she asked in a very nasty tone.
"I just wanted to make sure you were okay," I said as I swallowed hard.
"I'm locked up, Edward hasn't come to see me, and I hate you," she said as I laughed. "It's nice to know that he left you high and dry, though. That helps me sleep at night knowing how miserable you must be."
"I'm very far from miserable, actually," I said as she glared at me.
"You will never be happy, and I hope you burn in hell for what you've done to me," she said as I just stared at her. My anger grew and grew at that moment, and my mouth worked faster than my brain.
"I'm getting married next week. Would you like to know who I'm marrying?" I asked as I watched her interest spike. "He is the most wonderful, caring, charming man, and he loves me completely. Then again, everyone loves me right?" I asked as I watched her anger grow.
"I hate you! The night you were conceived, I should have swallowed," she said as I laughed.
"I could say the same about you. I'm marring Edward. I never let you win, Renee. I broke up with him because I needed to fix myself, and this is the last thing I feel I have to do before I marry him. I just had to reassure myself that you were truly locked up good and tight," I said as I glared at her. I was better than the taunting that I was doing to her, but it truly was helping me. I felt like a new person. I didn't feel scared anymore. Karma was a bitch and Renee was getting what she deserved.
"I hate you so much! You can go straight to hell for all I care!" she sneered at me.
"I can, but that means we will be together in the afterlife. Do you really want that?" I asked. That's when she moved to strike me, but the guard was faster.
"You need to leave, and you aren't welcome back here," the manly female guard said.
"That's fine; I said everything I needed to. Have a nice life, Renee. When I get home and I kiss Edward, I'll tell him you said hello," I taunted as I watched the guard grip her even tighter.
As we danced in small circles I chuckle at the memory. I traced my finger in a swan shape over Edward's shirt covered chest. He had a tattoo of a swan with my initials in the wing of the bird. I thought it was the sweetest thing. When my dad told me she killed herself, I felt a small pang of guilt, but I couldn't blame myself for anything that she did. I did everything I could to ever help her, and I knew she was never going to love me.
"Will you stop thinking of her," Edward says as he kisses my nose.
"You were so mad at me the day I went and saw her," I said as he locked his jaw.
"You were so stupid that day! I don't think I had ever been that mad at you, and I'm pretty sure that was our worst fight ever," he says as I laugh.
"Where are the kids?" I asked once I was in the front door.
"With my mom. What did you do today?" he asked. I just laughed and shook my head. "You seem different."
"I'm free and it feels great!" I said as I wrapped my arms around his neck. I kissed him deeply and he pulled me close to his body. I ran my fingers through his hair and down his neck, causing him to shiver under my touch. I went for the hem of his shirt and he let me pull it off of him. He used his very talented fingers to undo the buttons of my shirt next. I loved the feel of his hands on my body.
He lifted me into his arms once I was naked for him; I didn't even remember him taking my pants off. We only made it to the living room before he was inside of me. His mouth was hot against my skin and I couldn't stop touching him. He was mine and I was going to spend the rest of my life with him. I slowly moved myself up and down on his cock as I whispered 'I love you' to him. I loved that he returned each and every one of them.
He tightened his grip on my hips and he set a faster pace. I sat back on his lap and watched his beautiful face fall apart because of me. Me, the woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with. I was going to be the mother of his children. I was the one he never gave up on. I was his one true love. Everything just fell into prospective for me. I was his as much as he was mine.
"Bella, you are so sexy," he groaned as I leaned into his chest more. I smothered his mouth with my own, and kissed him as we both fell apart. I kissed his tat and laid my hand over his heart; I knew I owned it. "I love you."
"I love you, too. Do you know we are getting married next week?" I asked as he scrunched his face up.
"When was I going to be told of this?" he asked as I playfully swatted him. I snuggled into his chest just as the phone rang. Edward answered it and his mood shifted almost instantly. He spoke with whoever was on the other line, and soon enough, his relaxed face started to glare at me. He said a quick goodbye, and then moved me off his lap.
"What's wrong?" I asked as I covered myself up with a blanket.
"What's wrong?" he asked with a humorless laugh. "What is wrong with you?"
"I'm great! There isn't anything wrong with me."
"You went and saw her!" he yelled. "Why would you do that and not tell me!"
"I knew you wouldn't have let me go, and I needed to see her," I said with a shrug of my shoulders.
"I just needed closure."
"Why now? Do you know how stupid it was to go see her? Are you just trying to get out of marrying me?"
"No, nothing like that. It doesn't matter. She is out of my life for good now. That's why I told you I was free," I said as he paced the living room naked.
"I can't believe you. You could have been hurt. She could have hurt you."
"There was a guard there the whole time. They stopped her before she could hit me," I said as his head whipped to me.
"She tried to hit you?"
"I provoked her."
"You are so stupid!" he yelled.
"I needed her to know that she didn't win! I needed her to know that I was happy! I needed her to know she could never ruin me! If you think that is stupid, then so be it!" I yelled as I left the room. I thought that out of everyone, he would be the one to understand. I went to our room and cried. I didn't think he would be so upset about it.
After an hour of crying, he came into our room. I could feel his eyes on me, but he didn't say anything. I wiped my face dry of tears and turned my wet pillow over. I felt his side of the bed dip down, and then I felt his hand on my bare back.
"I'm sorry I yelled," he said as I shrugged my shoulders. "They called Charlie to let him know that they banned you from ever visiting again."
"I know; they told me before I left," I said, clearing my throat. "I stooped to her level, but it felt so good. I'm moving on and never looking back."
"What…what did you say to her?"
"After she said you hadn't come to see her, and that she was okay with that because she knew we were never going to be together, I lost it. I told her we were getting married. That was when she tried to hit me. I told her that when I got home, I was going to kiss you and say that she said hello," I said as he chuckled.
"Well, I guess you forgot that part," he said laughing some more.
I look at my husband, and then we turn to see Maddie and Matthew doing a silly dance on the dance floor near us. I may not have given birth to them, but they are my kids, and I couldn't be happier. I have my perfect life. Edward and I may have deep scars, but they are healing with each passing day. Life is going on, and that is the way it is supposed to be. I kiss Edward on the mouth and I laugh when I hear our kids groan.
"She never won. She never won, even when we were both falling apart. She never won," I say as he stares deep into my eyes.
"You are the strongest woman I know," he says with a loving smile.
"You are the strongest man I know," I counter with a chuckle.
"We won," he says with a smile as he kisses me.
"Stop! That is so gross," I hear my son say. I quickly grab him and pepper kisses all over his face. When I look up, I see Edward with his arms around Maddie, spinning in circles with her. I can hear her giggles trailing in their wake. I hug my son closer and smile down at him as he tells me he loves me. Matt and I both open our arms to let Edward and Maddie join us. As the four of us dance together in our own little group, one thing stands out in my mind: I am finally at peace, and completely happy.
I love my life.
A/N: Thank you all so much for all the reviews! This story had been the least stressful story I have even been involved with! There may be another story that Kasi and I will write together in the future. I hope this ending was everything that you wanted to happen! Thanks to toocute24 and Siobhan for the help they have both giving throughout this story. Again thanks again for all your kind words! ~jess2002~
There is really nothing more that I can say other than to reaffirm what Jess said, regarding the thanks to all of you wonderful readers who loved this story and stuck with us through the hard parts. As for this story, Jess and I have joked many times about how writing a story together was so easy, it almost wrote itself. Thanks to Sally and Siobahn for everything. Jess and I have been friends for a while, but I must say that I now think of her as one of my best friends and writing this story with her has been a complete pleasure. Thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing. ~TeamAllTwilight aka: Kasi~