Chapter Seventy Two

Hop. You'll see what kind at the end.

Bella

Edward and Caden are in our carriage.

The one high in the sky.

And I can't take my eyes off of them.

My two adorable boys.

Because they're my life.

My love.

My future.

"I know. Not only," I whisper. To myself. And my other.

Because I feel her.

And know she's near.

Close.

Almost here.

My secret...

For now.

Edward doesn't know.

Yet.

And doesn't need to.

Yet.

Because we have time.

I think.

I have time to tell him.

That I'm sure.

So I wait...

Because if I told him now, we'd just be doing it somewhere else.

The waiting.

And I don't want to take this away from him. Or from Caden.

This day.

This moment.

That they've waited so long for.

Like the other.

That's coming early.

Because I think she knows.

What's waiting for her.

And who is.

And how beautiful they are.

Our adorable boys.

Who couldn't be more.

Ever.

But certainly not now.

"I love my wife!" Edward screams from the top.

"I love my mom!" Caden screams from beside him.

Making me laugh.

And forget about the screaming I'll be doing soon.

"I love you, too," I whisper. "All."

To them. Even though they can't hear me. Are too far away to.

Two of them, anyway.

But not too far away to see...

My smile, I hope.

And my wave.

While I ride out another.

And they take.

"What do you dream about, Bella?" Edward asks me from beside me in our bed. Because I still haven't told him yet. "When you close your eyes?"

"You already know, Edward," is what I do. Because I know he does, though not everything.

"No... " he says, "I know one thing. That it's me. Well... two... okay, three. But I don't know what else? I mean, I know what it used to be... but I don't know what it is now? If the dreams you had then... before I went to nowhere... are still somewhere in you? Anywhere? Or if you have new ones you haven't shared with me?"

"I share everything with you," I say. Because I do. And am about to.

"Then why don't I know?" he asks.

So I wait. And tell him "You do."

"I don't, Bella."

And will try to still. "You do, Edward. Because what I dream about... whether my eyes are closed or wide open... is the beautiful life you've given me. The one we share. And the other. And the one we will when your beautiful bubble bursts.

"What I dream about is what has already come true. What you've made.

"And the others... the ones I had before... too... well, they're nothing compared to this. This life you promised me. And gave me. After you knew you'd given me the first."

"But-"

"No, Edward. No buts. Just this." And...

"I don't want you to have any regrets, Bella. Close your eyes one day and feel buried beneath them. Or open them and be terrified because you are... "

"Regrets? Oh, baby, I don't have any of those. And I never will. Not even making you go somewhere. Because if I hadn't... who knows where we'd be now."

"You think we'd be somewhere else?" he asks. Looking hurt. "Or that you would? Or me?"

And that I regret... making him look that way. But I know I can make him look another. "No. I don't think that. I know we'd be together... but I can't know how we would be. Or who might not be with us. Who might not be coming to join us now.

"I love our life, Edward. Just the way it is. And just the way it's about to be.

"Maybe my dreams changed along the way... were replaced with new ones I didn't expect... sooner than I could have...

"But nothing I dreamt of before could have been better than this. Nothing."

"Bella... "

"Please believe me, Edward. And help me up. And get Caden up. And call your parents."

"Get Caden up?" he asks, helping me. "And call my parents? Why would I-"

"Because someone's coming to join us. In our dream life. Someone we've been waiting for. Dreaming of... though didn't expect quite yet."

"Someone? You mean... our little?"

"Yes. I mean our little."

"She's... she's coming?"

"Yes, Edward. She's coming. NOW."

"She's... NOW... Oh my God, Bella! Then what are we doing here? We have somewhere to go!"

"Hi, beautifuls," Edward says softly, kissing my cheek the same. And then the little sleeping one in my arms. "Who's that?"

I follow his eyes to just a few feet away from where I sit in the shade with our, like me, fair-skinned baby girl and smile. At our little boy. And his new little playmate. "Our new neighbors moved in across the street today. And that...is Caden's new friend."

"Oh."

"Yep. Oh."

He watches them for a few moments, like I've been doing for many, and sees, I think, the same thing I've been seeing. "He's looking at her like... "

"I know."

"And she's looking at him like... "

"Yes. She is."

"Hmmm. Well... he is four."

"And so is she."

"Oh boy."

"Yes," I sigh, "And girl."

"Thank God it's not mine," he says, and makes me laugh. Because God help the little boy - or big - who ever looks at his that way. Or another...

"And that he is."

"Of course that. So, what's her name?"

"Caelee."

"That's a cute name for a little girl."

"It is."

"Not as cute as Mackenzie... "

"No, of course not," I smile, looking down at her sleeping face.

"So, I should go introduce myself, I think. Since my son isn't going to. Introduce me. Or notice that I'm even here... "

"I noticed," I tell him. "If that helps any."

"That's because we were four once."

"True."

"Mackenzie's not allowed to turn four. Just so you know."

I laugh at his ridiculously adorable I mean business face. And then at the pout that appears on it after. And watch him walk away.

Towards our ridiculously adorable little boy.

Who is more like mine everyday.

Every time I open my eyes.

And get to spend another in my dreams.

Ours.

The End.

Of When You Close Your Eyes

And I want to say thank you... to those of you who have been with us since the beginning. Through the laughter and the tears. And everything else in between. I'd hug you if I could.

And also... I want you to know that this is hard. Saying goodbye. Because this story means the world to me. It has since the day I wrote the first chapter. And it still does. And always will. And I could probably write it forever... them... but that's not the right decision. This is. Saying goodbye here. And now. It's what they told me, anyway. And listening to them was what this was all about.

So, thank you. Again. For listening to us. And our dreams.

I'm going to go cry now. Maybe even forever.