Welcome to the final installment of Bird Girl. It's been such a crazy ride and I really truly have enjoyed it so much. I trust that you all have had a good time reading the story of Bird and her Dur. I've written this final chapter the best way I knew how, the way it felt most true to Bird and her story. Some of you may not agree with it, but I do hope that you will embrace it for what it is and love Bird and Dur for who they are.
I've contemplated doing a small sequel, but as of now, that's just a thought tumbling through the universe.
I am working on a one shot right now and hope to be able to post that shortly, as well, I've started another story, but I'm holding off on posting anything until I have a better grip on the characters and their fates.
From the very bottom of my heart, thank you all. It has been a pleasure.
I walk half way around the world,
Just to sit down by your side.
And I would do most anything girl,
To be the apple of your eye.
Troubles they may come and go,
But good times they are the gold.
And if this road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.
Any place you wanna go,
Know I'll be next to you.
If it's treasure baby you're looking for,
I'll search the whole world through.
"Steady As We Go"
~Dave Matthews Band~
New Years Eve rolled in faster than I could blink an eye.
I was healing pretty quickly and had decided to spend the day in the shop with Alice and Sue. Edward dropped me off on his way to see Jasper and my dad about a few things. I couldn't do any lifting, no cleaning, no baking, but I could sit on my ass behind the register and work that baby all day long. And I could most certainly taste a little bit of everything that Alice and Sue had made for the customers. At this rate, I'd gain thirty pounds before Valentine's Day.
Edward was still in town and had told me he would be around for a little bit longer, but that he was going to have to start looking for a new PA soon. It was easier for him to weather the Angela storm here in Forks, than in the city. There were paparazzi back in town these days and Charlie was on red alert. He had a guy at my house almost 24/7 now. It was annoying, but I understood very well where he was coming from and I appreciated his concern.
Neither Edward nor I had broached the subject about my little fit throwing scene days earlier. I don't know if he just thought I was having an emotional outburst caused from the trauma or maybe he thought I was just a raging bitch. He was still attentive and caring, but I was seriously beginning to wonder what the hell was going on. Or if I even had a right to wonder what in the hell was going on. Dammit, I needed some solid footing here and I needed it yesterday.
At around four in the afternoon Edward walked in through the back door. In three long strides his warm, strong arms were wrapped just tight enough around me so as not to hurt my ribs. His lips pressed a kiss into the top of my hair.
"Hello, Bird." His voice whispered. "You ready to come home now?"
"Yeh." He still made my knees weak, even though he'd been with me every day for a week now. "Let me grab my bag and I'll be ready."
Edward had rented a car that he could drive with his cast. I had offered him the use of mine, but he had reminded me that he couldn't shift when he waved his casted hand in my direction. He looked too good behind the wheel of his rented Audi, his dark sunglasses in place, faded jeans, and navy blue hooded sweatshirt. The sun was shining a bright golden yellow today, though it was still freezing outside.
We drove through town and right past the turn for my street.
"Where are we going?"
"You nervous?" The corner of his mouth quirked in a crooked smile.
Laughing, I stared out the passenger window, "No. I trust you implicitly." Shifting slightly in my seat, I watched his profile, "Plus, my dad scares you, so there's that."
Edward's deep laugh filled the car and warmed my belly like a straight shot of liquor.
A minute later Edward parked the car in the small dirt lot at the park up the street from my house. He pulled a blanket from the back seat and bottle of whiskey. I laughed heartily as I remembered his sneaking up on me in this very park while I sat alone wallowing in my own self pity.
"We walking down memory lane, Dur?" I wrapped my fingers around the wrist of his casted hand and we walked slowly in the cool evening sunshine.
Edward smiled down at me and when we reached the large boulder, he shook out the plaid blanket and laid it out, covering the top.
"Up ya go, Bird." His smile disarmed me. No matter how comfortable I thought I was around him, he still knocked me off course with that half crooked grin.
I pulled myself gingerly up onto the rock and grabbed the bottle of whiskey from Edward's hand, laughing when he attempted to maneuver himself up with one hand.
"Sorry, that's just funny."
"Sure it is." He huffed out as he made himself comfortable next to me.
Unscrewing the lid on the bottle, I took a small drink and shuddered.
"Holy shit. Every time." I breathed out the words and relaxed as my belly warmed and Edward took a drink as well.
We sat together quietly enjoying each others company, watching the sun fall behind the trees, the light streaking the sky with pale blues, pinks and gold.
"Yeh?" Tipping my face, I caught his eye.
"I wanted to tell you," Edward twisted slightly so that we were facing each other. "You mean the world to me."
My heart fluttered and my stomach swayed.
"I love you so much, Bird. I came here months ago to make a movie, somewhat lost in life, wondering what would happen next. I didn't see you coming, I couldn't have predicted the complete one eighty you've caused me to do."
He took my hand in his and kissed the healing mark on my wrist. I was having a hard time breathing, couldn't even think of one smartass comment to throw out.
"I was absolutely devastated when you went missing, Bella. I don't know what I would have done if something had happened to you, if I had lost you." Edward bowed his head, his breathing in heavily. "Fuck."
"Edward," I whispered. "I'm here. I'm okay and I'm still alive and so happy. Because of you."
When he finally raised his head to look at me, his green eyes held unshed tears.
"I promise, Edward. I'm okay." Taking his face in my hands, I pulled him into my lips, willing him to feel better.
"I have something for you." He smiled a small warm grin.
"You know I love your presents."
He reached inside his sweatshirt and pulled out a thin black velvet envelope and handed it to me.
"Before you open it, Bird."
I paused, my fingers tingling and itching to open the flap.
"It's because I want to."
Frowning I squinted at him. "I'm confused."
"Just open it."
He pushed his hands inside the pockets of his sweatshirt and watched me closely.
"More chopsticks?" I laughed.
Pulling the silver pair out of their velvet bed, I nearly choked on my heart.
Inscribed on the first were the words, 'Say Yes', on the second was, 'Will You Marry Me?'.
"Hooooomygod." I pressed my hand over my chest as tears heated my eyes.
"Yes. Holy shit, yes!" My entire body was shaking as I realised Edward had hopped down from the rock, pulling his hand from his pocket, he held a small white gold band between his fingers with a beautiful square cut diamond in its center.
"Will you be my Bird forever?"
I nodded, tears spilling down my cheeks when he took my hand in his casted one and placed the ring on my finger.
"You put a ring on it." I sobbed and hugged his neck.
Edward drove us straight to my parent's house after we'd gotten our shit together. More my shit than his. I was a complete basket case.
"Yeh?" We getting ready to turn down my parent's street.
"Just so you know, there are more people here than just your parents. But they are here under the guise of making sure you're doing better."
"Who all is here?"
"Alice, Jasper, my parents, your parents. That's it."
"Your parents are here?" I was slightly nervous, but at the same time, I'd fallen for Esme and Carlisle pretty hard, they were awesome people. I saw the rental car sitting outside the house, parked right behind Alice's car as we drive up.
"Come on. Let's go have spaghetti and later I'll give you that orgasm you were so upset about." He winked and my body went into overdrive.
"You can't just say that!" He closed the driver side door on a laugh and walked around to open mine. "You suck."
Edward shrugged. "Was hoping you'd be doing a little of that."
I smacked his arm and rolled my eyes. "If you're good."
"Welcome to the family, Bella." Esme wrapped me carefully in a hug, whispering in my ear, "We are so glad that you are okay and very happy to have you as our daughter." She pressed a kiss to my cheek before handing me another tissue to wipe at my eyes. We both laughed and hugged.
"Thank you, Esme." I blubbered out over laughter and tears.
I hardly had time to blow my nose before Alice had me cornered, holding my hands and close to tears.
"I'm going to miss you so much, Bella."
And bring on round four thousand five hundred and sixty two of crying.
"I'm going to miss you so much too, Alice."
We held each other for the longest time. I just couldn't bring myself to let go of her, and Alice didn't seem to be eager to leave the embrace either.
It hadn't really dawned on me until that moment that I would be leaving home. I was sad at the idea of having to say goodbye to everyone, to the coffee shop and the wine bar, to my little house with its dirt driveway. But being with Edward made made everything a little easier.
"I don't know what I will do every day without you, Brandon." We'd not ever been separated like this, it was a whole new sort of heartache.
"You'll be fine. You'll go to the beach and work on getting a tan and you'll fly me out all the time."
"Hell yes I will. Or, Edward will." We giggled and hugged again.
"We're gonna be okay, right Bella?" Alice's eyes held a softness that I'd never seen before.
"We're gonna be the best, Alice."
I excused myself to the bathroom to wash my face and try to calm my damn nerves. I must be pms-ing because I was becoming an emotional nightmare. If I kept this up, Edward was sure to rethink that proposal.
Instead of heading back to the living room, I snuck down the hall to my old bedroom. The walls were still painted a mint green color and an old purple crocheted blanket lay at the foot of the twin bed.
Sitting on the mattress, I looked around the small room. There were pictures of Alice and I still tacked up all over the walls. One poster of James Dean still taped to the closet door and in the far corner on the cream colored carpet, was a pink splotch from when Alice and I had decided to dye our hair pink for homecoming week. God, my mom had had such a fit when she saw the damage.
There was a quiet knock the door and my dad poked his head into the room.
"Hey there, sweetie. Mind if I come in?"
I shook my head no and felt the lump return to my throat. This has to be payment for not ever being an overly emotional person my whole life. It's all catching up with me now.
My dad sat next to me, our arms touching.
Charlie cleared his throat and stared at the wall in front of us. "When Edward came to me and asked for my blessing, I knew that he was absolutely the right man for you, Bella." He cleared his throat again. "I knew it the first time I met him. He balances you. He loves you with the same sort of fierceness that I love your mother, and I know he would do anything to keep you happy and safe."
I nodded, staring at my hands in my lap.
"The only thing I'm not thrilled about is you leaving. But this is your life and you have to live it the best way you know how. Embrace it, run with it, make memories that will last your entire lifetime. Stories to pass on to your children. You deserve every happiness, Bella. You've been more than I could have ever wished or hoped for in a daughter."
I hugged my dad tight. "I love you, Dad. Thank you for being the best dad in the whole world."
"Aww, shit." I heard my dad mutter as he wiped at his eyes.
"Don't worry, Dad. My eyes have been sweating all day."
We both laughed again before we were interrupted by my mom.
"There's my two favorite people." She sat on the other side of me, wrapping an arm around my shoulders.
"I love you, Isabella."
"Love you too, Mom."
"I'm going to save my mushy moment for another time, but I wanted you to know that I am so very proud of you."
I paced the airport corridor, excess energy flowed through my limbs like electricity. I'd been waiting for this day for a month.
I whirled and came face to face with the most beautiful woman I'd ever laid eyes on. Without a word, I dragged her straight into my arms, groaning when her lips parted, her hands fisted my shirt, pulling me closer.
I was a dead man walking. There was nothing more sweet than my Bird and she was finally here to stay. Forever.
I pulled back and smiled at the slightly dazed look she wore. Her hair was pulled away from her face in a long ponytail and her jeans fit her like second skin.
"Welcome home, Bella."
She beamed at the words and hugged me tight. "It's good to be home."
As the weeks went by, we talked about getting into a house, a place big enough for family to come visit whenever they wanted. A place to put roots down, which gave me an odd sense of purpose. No one had asked about babies, and Bella and I were too wrapped up in the idea of being together for a while to even go there at this point, but I would have been lying if it didn't cross my mind as we looked at several houses. Yards to play in, pools to swim in, extra bedrooms.
Bella came around the corner, a towel in her wet hair, jeans unbuttoned, wearing only a pink bra. If I didn't have a telephone meeting in ten minutes...
"Oh good, I caught you before your phone call." The smile she wore meant she was up to no good. No good at all.
"What's up, Bird?"
"Well, I was thinking, maybe we could go to Vegas before the end of the month."
Was she taking this where I thought she was?
She shrugged a slender shoulder. "I was just thinking, I mean, I know we're planning to have a small ceremony on the beach this summer, but, I kinda wanted to do this together. Just you and me." Her teeth scraped at her lower lip.
"You want to elope?"
She nodded, apprehension in her eyes, so I stood and walked to her, lifting her in my arms.
"Yes. Yes, Bella, I will marry you in Vegas."
"I can't fucking believe you, Bella Swan!" Alice's voice tore through the phone line.
I just laughed and spoke over her exaggerated sigh, "I'm sorry, Alice. I wanted to do this with Edward. Just us. But we're still having the ceremony this summer and you're still my Maid of Honor. I promise I'm not canceling it or changing it. There will be dresses and shoes and cake and dancing. I promise."
"Damn, Bella. I'm really happy for you, I'm just a little bit sad."
I knew she would be, I knew everyone would be a little sad, but sometimes you have to do what feels right. Even if it doesn't seem right to everyone else.
"You owe me."
Laughing again I replied, "I know. I'm at the computer right now buying your ticket out here for next month."
"Damn straight, Swan." I heard her soft sigh. "So, has Edward found a new PA yet?"
"Yeh, actually, I found him and he's really awesome, good head on his shoulders and he came highly recommended from a few other people."
"Way to go Bella. Gettin' shit done."
"Yeh, well, ya know, with all this extra time on my hands now, it was either be constructive or get into trouble. Without you here, the getting into trouble bit didn't sound all that fun. Speaking of, are you sure you and Jasper don't want to buy out my half of the shop and bar?"
I felt so guilty being co-owner in an establishment that I didn't work at, let alone live in the same state.
Since moving and getting settled, Edward had helped me to fund a non-profit for abused women, men and children. I needed to keep myself busy and giving back and helping others made me feel like I was really doing something for the community and the people. We had counselors and set up a safe house of sorts. We even had some part time teachers that would come in and work with the kids who needed school help.
Things in California were falling into place. Being with Edward was beyond amazing. Waking up with him every morning, seeing him every night, it just felt right. We had recently purchased a home and would be moving into it in a few days. I was thrilled to be starting this crazy journey with him and looked forward to many many years of amazing adventures.
"Nope. You keep half of it and promise to come visit and work a few hours when you do." I heard talking in the background of the call. "Well, Mrs. Cullen, I look forward to seeing you next month." Alice was at the shop and the afternoon lunch rush was starting.
"I miss you, Alice."
"Miss you too, Bells."
"See ya later, Bird Girl."
When the storm comes,
You shelter me.
And I don't say a word,
And you know exactly what I mean.
In the darkest times,
You shine on me.
You set me free.
And keep me steady as we go.
So if your heart rings dry my love,
I will fill your cup.
And if your load gets heavy girl,
I will lift you up.
"Steady As We Go"
~Dave Matthews Band~
Thank you, Mustlovertp... it's done! I did it and I couldn't have done it without you. xOx