Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns all.

Rated M for several reasons.



Every once in a while she gets that faraway look in her eyes and I know what she's thinking about. Edward. I know she loved him, I always knew. And I know she feels bad about his death but I'm selfishly glad she chose me. Glad to the bone.

I'm sorry he's gone too. I spent his whole second life avoiding him on the basis that I didn't want another family and he sounded like an annoying little prick. Well he was annoying, but only because he was in love with my mate. Now, as is the way with these things, I regret not knowing him better almost as much as I regret shunning Carlisle's fatherly instincts. And although Edward wouldn't thank me for it I feel sorry for him. Without realising it our father let him down pretty badly. Edward struggled to come to terms with who he was and the ideals of manhood that he perceived around him. Though I barely remember my own father now I do still feel the love and I respect I had for him but that's where we differ. I was a man when I left, with a man's growing understanding that no matter how much I idolised my father he was just a man too. Edward never got that, he lost his when he was seventeen, in an age when everyone was living to a very rigid set of ideals. And then he had Carlisle as a role model. But he never knew the truth of Carlisle's past, he wanted to emulate the finished article without knowing anything about the mistakes Carlisle made growing to become it.

And that's a real sadness because in his heart Edward was as good a man as any of the rest of us.

One of the problems of being a vampire is that you never forget what happened, not one single detail or nuance. But because we're still basically people we learn to deal with it. We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and we live.

We've found another mountain with majestic views and plentiful game and I'm in the process of designing us a home to adorn the top of it.

Bella, although hardened by her experiences wanted to offer for Maria, Felix, Clarion, hell everyone caught up in this clusterfuck to come live with us. I put my foot down and she didn't argue so I'm guessing she was secretly relieved that Mr Broody is a well-known loner. That's not to say I'm getting away with this scot free. Plans are already in place to visit our 'covenees' as she calls them. What's left of the Cullens. Tanya and the Denalis. Felix and Clarion are coming to see us and I don't even want to speculate what the Goddess of Disaster is up to. But I know she'll be back, she seems inexplicably drawn to my mate, the only woman on earth that Maria might actually like.

Felix has called. Once the debacle in Volterra was resolved he unsurprisingly tracked down Daire. I really don't care that it was one of the brothers who turned out to be behind this whole plot to overthrow the others. Politics in other countries has always left me cold. But I have to admit I was pleased to hear and see every detail of that Pict's demise. Camera phones are a wonderful thing and I hate that fucker with every fibre of my being, even now he's dead. Bella didn't want to see the videos but she was quietly pleased to know that Felix has exacted our revenge in an appropriately vindictive style.

He didn't sell us out. Something for which I am grateful and eternally watchful. Despite what Bella's told me and what I already know about him, he's a 'company' man and I can't help but harbour the fear that Aro will turn up on our doorstep one day with a cadre of the Guard to punish us for Vasilii. Maria's precautions were totally justified.

We finally tracked down the Maserati. Who knew the local cops could be so corrupt? We had to steal it back. I was outraged. Although no one could be mad for long when faced with Bella in a ninja suit.

The rest of my babies were beyond repair. You'd think Italians would have more respect for automotive greatness. Felix is a fucking pleb and no mistake. It's a good job I'm as rich as Croesus, even if I do dress like a tramp, apparently.

Yes. Alice Cullen has now entered our lives. I'd dislike her with passion but despite her grief over Edward's death she's remained there for Bella. And that's a devotion I can get behind. Jasper and I have developed a tentative friendship, of the kind well known to men who are forced into the company of their wives' friend's better halves. I have of course forgiven him for nearly killing me all those years ago and he doesn't give a shit about it one way or the other. So we're good.

I asked her to marry me.

She was resolutely unimpressed with the idea.

I can wait. I've got forever. She'll come around eventually. I think . . . .

A/N Here we are at the end of another story and once again I have to thank everyone who reviewed, your encouragement is without price. Helping me through writer's block, the vagaries of real life and the occasional outbreak of chronic laziness . . . .

I had the basics of this story pinging around in my head for a while but lacked anything to pull it together. It was Twiolic who came up with the missing piece, Edward and Maria. So if you enjoyed the story, thank her, if you didn't, then blame me, I'm a lousy writer.

Anyway, I think I have one story left in me.


It's just a little one though, honest . . . .