A/N: And here we are! At the end. I'll see at the bottom!
Of course, I must thank my beta girlies! Ninmesarra and PrettyFlour, you girls have helped turn this story from words that needed help into something readable! Thanks SOO much for all the hard work and effort that you put into it. I luv ya'll!
Ten Years Later:
The Cullshire Keep was bursting at the seams with family members. Bella, Edward and their five children, Alice, Jasper and their brood of three, Rose, Emmett and their brood of six, Siobhan, Jacob and their two, and Kate and William, and Uncle Carlisle were all present. Sir Charles, Bella's father was due to arrive any minute with his new wife, Susan, and his brother-in-law, the King.
The hall echoed with laughter as the children chased each other and held mock sword-fights with their wooden toys. The adults regaled each other with stories of the previous year as they didn't all get to see each other very often- with Alice residing in England.
It was almost time for the Michealmas dinner. The smells emanating from the kitchen had everyone's stomachs growling. Edward was just about ready to call everyone to dinner when the doors were thrown open and the missing guests entered with a flurry of snow. Dusting the chilled, white powder from their cloaks, the three additions gladly joined the adults surrounding the fireplace to heat their chilled bodies.
Dinner was announced and the nursemaids helped the children find places at the table and assisted the smaller ones' with their dinner. Esme Alice declared that at almost twelve, she was old enough to sit with the adults. No one argued with her, but they did watch the stories they told.
Rosalie excused herself and went to the stairs to find her shawl- she was feeling cool. Pausing, she turned to gaze upon the family she'd almost missed out on. She'd not only gained a husband and six children- Peter, Margaret, Mary, Jamie, Donald, and Gregor- but siblings and nieces and nephews and Sir Charles and Uncle Carlisle were more like fathers to her than mere acquaintances.
She looked at Carlisle and watched his smile dim as he gazed at the empty chair beside him. Esme, at seven and forty years, had conceived. The birth was too hard on both mother and child and they'd had to say good-bye to them both. That was almost six years ago. Carlisle still lavished the great-nieces and nephews with all the love he had in his heart, but Rosalie's broke to see him so lonely. She knew how it felt to lose the ones you held most dear to your heart.
She gazed at the man that had waited patiently for her to deal with the issues of her past and decide to live without fear, making the most of every moment with him. Feeling her eyes on him, he turned to grin at her. His smile never failed to make her heart skip a beat.
Emmett stood and made his way slowly to where she watched her family. Wrapping her in his arms, he asked, "What has ye thinking so heavily, Rosie mine?"
"I was thinking of how I could have missed this. That would have been such a tragedy. I dinnae ken how I would have survived these past years without ye and the bairns. And ye dinnae just give me children, Emmett. Nay, ye gave me an entire family to love and cherish for all my days. I love ye so much. It does nae seem possible, but more today than I did then."
"I ken exactly what ye mean. Tis how I feel for you, love. I'm glad we decided to be more careful after the twins were born. Donald and Gregor were almost the death of ye, wife, and I dinnae think I could live without ye. I dinnae ken how Uncle Carlisle does it."
"He still misses her. It's written in his every smile- they never quite reach as high as they used to."
Rose looked closely at her niece. Noticing how forlorn she appeared, she said a prayer for her. Jacob and Siobhan had dealt with more than their share of grief in the last few years. They'd laid 3 bairns to rest beside their small chalet and it was heartbreaking to see Siobhan so despondent. Rosalie may never have miscarried, but she still missed the son she'd had with Ewan every day. She'd grown enough in herself not to let it affect the relationship she had with her other children. As much as Rose wanted to help, until Siobhan was ready to open up and talk to her, or at least listen to her, there wasn't anything more that she could do.
Shaking off their melancholy thoughts, they turned their attention to the children at the tables- the twins, just barely two years old were both sticking carrots in their noses. Laughing as they went to help the flustered nursemaids, Emmett and Rose rejoined their family.
Despite all the heart ache they'd each suffered separately and what they'd endured together, nothing drove them apart. Rather each obstacle that came their way only knitted them tighter together as a family.
A/N: I hate to end this story! I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it!
I'm starting a new story- not a historical fic this time- called Countdown to Combustion! I've got the first several chapters written and plan to post the first tonight. Here's the summary: After a girls' night in, and drunken truth or dare, Bella goes on three blind dates. She unwinds after each one at her favorite piano bar, where she pours her heart out to bartender, Eddie. He listens and decides she needs dating lessons. Embarrassment, hilarity, and UST all combine in this Countdown to Combustion! Rated M...
Now that that's out there, I hope you guys will leave me some love and let me know if you loved or hated my story- suggestions on how to make them better in the future...
Thanks for sharing this journey with me! It's been fun! See you in the next one! Much love!