A/N... Here it is...the last chapter. I need to tell you first of all that this has been amazing fun writing Angelward again. And I truly need to thank all of you that have been with me from the first one and the ones that have joined along the way. THANK YOU! Thank you for your laughter, encouragement, theories, and worry. AND...thank you for the song recs! Love those! ;)
Keep in mind that I did take liberties with where they're living. Also...there was SO MUCH to touch on here that I had no choice but to write this epi in flashes of time. You'll see.
I know it's a bittersweet moment...but I'll let you get to it. See me at the bottom one last time...
Chapter 41 – Epilogue
A month later...
The craggy tops of the Rocky Mountains loomed in the distant background as I ran through the trees. Carlisle and Esme had closed on the property as of that morning. Montana was just...stunning and so very remote. It was trees, small lakes and creeks, and plenty of hunting. As fall got closer and closer, fat grizzlies could be seen catching fish in rivers, deer were plentiful, and the best news – cougars roamed the trees and rocks. And we hadn't even reached the end of our newly acquired property yet.
Edward and I had left the main cabin to not only hunt, but to run off the extra energy we had from the flight from Rio and sitting still through the closing. After a large cat and a few deer each, we'd just started running, weaving through large clumps of trees, leaping over creeks and lakes, and finally just giving into the chase.
I smelled Edward before I heard his stealthy steps behind me. Not bothering to shield myself, I laughed and suddenly found my back planted into soft green grasses. A very proud, very dominant-looking Edward braced over me, a feral growl vibrating out of his chest.
"You let me catch you," he accused with narrowed black eyes.
"Yeah," I said with a giggle, snaking my arms up his flexed forearms and biceps and around his neck. "'Cause this sucks...bad."
His expression changed from my fierce vampire to my very sweet and amused husband, and the electricity between us kicked up as he leaned slowly down to kiss me.
"Yep, it's just awful... Terrible, in fact," he murmured wryly against my lips.
"Shut up and kiss me," I purred. Not bothering to wait for him, I leaned up and captured his mouth with my own.
Edward tasted like the deer he'd just caught not ten minutes prior. His lips were soft, warm, and sweet against my own, finally claiming my mouth with his tongue as all his weight settled on top of me, my legs cradling his waist.
The high, shrill cry of a hawk made me jump, and I broke away from his lips with a gasp to look to my left.
"Oh, wow..." I breathed, my eyes widening at the sight before me.
Edward and I were on the crest of a small hill that was surrounded by trees. The entire area was tall grasses and wildflowers, and at the bottom of the hill, the ground leveled out to bank against a small pond fed by a short waterfall. Standing guard in the distant background like enormous sentries were the pointy, gray peaks of the Rockies. It didn't even look real. It looked like a postcard, a painting, or the cover of a coffee table book.
"Whoa," Edward whispered, sitting back on his knees, and I sat up in front of him, our eyes locked onto the sight.
It was essentially our meadow – and every other secret place we'd ever found – and it was just as hidden, just as beautiful as all of them put together. It was our creek in New Hampshire, our pond in Oregon, our waterfall in Maine, and our meadow in Forks. It was every bit of them rolled into one unbelievable place.
"This is it," we both whispered at the same time.
Edward smiled, standing up and offering me his hand. He helped me to my feet, linking our fingers together as he led us at a human pace down the little hill. We came to a standstill in the middle of it all under a tree, and I watched as Edward's eyes soaked it in, assessing, calculating, and visualizing everything. For him, I could imagine it was more of a detailed numbers thing.
He took a deep breath, wrapping his arms around me from behind. "Not numbers, sweet girl. I just don't want build where any of this could be spoiled. At all," he said reverently. "Not to mention, we're almost at the farthest northern corner of the property. Access could prove difficult. But this is..."
"Perfect," I gushed, turning to look up at him. "Here, Edward. Can it be done? Please say it can!"
Grinning down at me, he dropped a quick kiss to the tip of my nose and then gazed over the land one more time. His smile fell a little, his brow furrowed, and he chewed on his bottom lip – a habit he'd definitely started picking up from me.
With a deep breath, he looked back down at me, turning me around to face the small pond. "My beautiful girl, show me. Show me how you see it. Show me what you would want."
Taking in my surroundings, I had to agree with Edward. I didn't want a modern house or a wretched stretch of paved driveway to ruin the natural beauty that was around us. There was a flat space of land between two sets of trees that would be perfect for a relatively small house – or a cottage. Positioned the right way, the back door would face the little lake and the mountains in the background. I saw our house with natural wood and stone, plenty of large windows, and a space for Edward's piano at the front. A deck at the back door, a tiny dock on the pond, and wildflowers everywhere – that's what I imagined.
"God, love...that's stunning, actually," he whispered against the back of my head. He took another deep breath and turned to look behind us. "Hmm...maybe with Jasper's and Emmett's help, a few trips up here on ATVs, and the right path, we could create a natural driveway..."
I said nothing, just simply watched him with what was most likely a pitiful, pleading face.
When he finally met my gaze again, he chuckled at me, shaking his head. "You're sure?"
"Positive?" he asked with a raised eyebrow, and now he was just teasing me.
"Yes, Edward! Please?"
He broke out into a sexy grin. "Yeah..." He sighed, gazing around. "This is definitely for us, Bella."
"Yes!" I squealed, jumping up and down like Alice, and my husband laughed at me but pulled me into a hug. "Thank you," I sighed.
"Like I would've told you no, silly girl. I would've moved those mountains before saying you couldn't have something," he said with a chuckle.
He dropped a kiss to my lips, sat down on the ground, and leaned back against a tree trunk, patting the space between his legs. "Okay, sweetheart. We've got lots to talk about. Let's talk."
I settled back against him, and we discussed the details of the house – what we both wanted, how we thought it should look, and when we could start. We also talked about our future. Did Edward want to practice medicine? The answer was no. He didn't think the hours apart would be good for us. We'd tried that once and failed because our connection wouldn't allow it. Did Edward want to teach piano? It was something he was willing to consider, but it wasn't a do or die vocation for him. He played for his own enjoyment – for my enjoyment. Which left school as the last option.
"God, Edward, you've done school for decades," I began with a snort, turning to sit facing him. "Really? You'd go back...again?"
His laugh was soft and sweet as he reached up to tuck a lock of my hair behind my ear. "Normally, I would agree with you, but this is different. I've never thought to study this aspect of medicine. Carlisle seems to think that my mind reading will add a element of usefulness to it. Are you still interested in helping children, love?"
"I think so," I said with a nod. "How long would it take?"
"Another three to four years in addition to the credits that Jasper's edited for us," he stated, grimacing a little. "We'll have to intern somewhere before we're completely done." He thought for a moment. "However, we may be able to expedite the situation with online classes and summer courses. That might eliminate a year."
"I want to stay together – throughout internships and classes," I stated the obvious as I debated it.
"Of course. No question."
"I mean, I know some classes may separate us, but still..."
He grinned and nodded for me to go on.
"Umm," I hedged, tilting my head up at him. "How could we work? I mean, like where?"
"We could do anything you wished – work with children at the hospital with Carlisle, volunteer at clinics, private practice, mental health facilities, or even social work," he suggested, ticking off his points with his long fingers.
"And we could stay here?" I asked, pointing to the ground, but then picked a bright yellow flower to twirl in my fingers.
"The whole time," he vowed. "Even longer. If we never give up this address and no humans come here, then we'll be able to stay here much longer than the usual places, sweet girl." He took the flower from my fingers and tucked it into my hair. "Due to where this is located, baby, we could come back here sooner than say...Forks. No one would know that it exists. We'll set up post office boxes in Missoula or something...close them when we decide to 'leave.'"
I started to smile and nod, loving this place more and more. I could see a future laid out before us, where family was nearby but not on top of us. I could see school again – which I absolutely adored attending with Edward – and I imagined long, lazy, sunny days right there where no one could see us. Future smiles from little kids as they worked with Edward flashed through my mind. Hanging out with family, only to separate when we wanted our own time and privacy was so perfect. I saw snowed-in winters, rainy springs, and colorful falls. And it was all right there. Even if one day, we had to leave, it wouldn't take so long to come back because like he'd said, no one would ever come here to know it existed.
I took one more look at the rough terrain, giggling. "No more sports cars, Mr. Cullen," I teased, crawling into his lap.
Edward accepted me with open arms and a chuckling kiss to my lips. "Not so fast, Mrs. Cullen. There's always the main house's garage..."
I laughed, my head falling back. "Okay. Fair enough." I locked gazes with him. "Speaking of names...which one are we going with?"
He smirked, shrugging a shoulder. "I don't know, sweet girl. Maybe both? Put the property and the house in Masen to hide our identities, but in school, we could be Cullen. Or...we could hyphenate it. I am a trust fund kid again, you know; it'll sound pretentious. Mrs. Isabella Marie Masen-Cullen?"
Grinning, I nodded with a giggle because I liked it either way. "Okay." I leaned in and kissed him, pulling his forehead to mine. "You know what this means, right, baby?" I asked him, shielding my mind from him.
He pouted adorably at the loss of my thoughts as he shook his head. "No, what?"
"It means..." I purred, scooting closer to him so that I was looming over his extremely handsome yet confused face. "It means I have to defend what's mine at school again. Hot little co-eds all wanting what they can't have..."
"Oh, yeah?" he asked with a laugh, cupping my face and caressing my cheeks with his thumbs. "'Cause it's so easy for you to ignore the poor freshmen that positively trip over themselves to look at you..."
Grinning, I shrugged a shoulder. "I can't see anyone but you, Edward."
"Ditto, sweet girl," he whispered, brushing his lips across mine. "You're all I see. All day. Every day." He kissed me again, and it was deep and sweet, causing my fingers to curl into his hair and my breathing to become stilted. "So...we're doing this? All of it? The house, the school, the career?"
I nodded fervently. "Yeah," I replied softly. "All of it, baby."
Pressing the phone between my shoulder and ear, I answered my ringing phone with, "Hey, Dad," as I made my way across campus after one of my late afternoon classes.
"There's my girl. How's the new digs?" he asked with a chuckle.
"Ridiculously expensive and a waste of time," I replied back. "We're only using the apartment in Missoula until the house is finished. We hardly spend time there, but it gives us an address to use."
My eyes scanned around me, but the later classes had less students, so no one was really paying me any attention.
"Edward doin' okay? I mean, with school, building the house, and that new girl you guys found?"
"Oh, Edward's great," I told him, unable to keep the smile off my face. "And Caroline is amazing. She handled the move into the main house just fine. She's handling everything better than any of us expected, actually. She's going to try to attempt a family outing in a few days."
"The band gettin' back together?" Charlie laughed, and I couldn't help but join him.
"Oh yeah," I sang. "The boys can't help themselves. Never mind that they'll tell you it's for us."
Charlie chuckled again. "And the house?"
I sighed, finding my waiting spot at a table just outside Edward's classroom. I sat down, setting my backpack on the table top. Until the weather changed to colder and more overcast, we were in later classes or working online. Most of our courses were together, but we were separated for one or two. It was a class-size issue, not a credits situation.
"The house... Or should I say...houses." I snorted, rolling my eyes. "Those boys are trying to break their necks with this bet, Dad. I swear."
I grinned at Charlie's laughter. It was good to hear. It was normal and the one tie to my human life that I never took for granted.
"So let me get this straight... Not only are you guys building your own homes, but it's a damn race to the finish?" he snorted.
"Yup!" I huffed a laugh. "Oh, but Emmett screwed himself because he let Rose design the house, so he's working with a lot more square footage. Plus a basement, not to mention an insane garage. It's silly, really. But it's been pretty fun."
"What's the bet?" Charlie asked.
"Losers have to unload every moving truck. Second place has to move the cars out of storage in Washington." We both laughed at that.
"How's all that construction going with school?"
"We don't sleep, Dad, neither do we need light to work, so when we're not here, we're at the pond, even at night." I gave another quick glance around, but again, my conversation was private.
"What are the rest of you guys doing now that you're all stateside?" he asked.
"Rose and Emmett are taking time off from school," I started. "They're going to do what they were doing in London – refurbishing old cars and reselling them. Jasper and Alice are also taking time off from school but may join us in the second semester just because they like the campus. She's been way too busy hunting down decorations for Esme for not just the main house, but all four houses. Kevin and Adrian are starting college next semester, for sure. Kevin wants to give it a try, for theater. Adrian is interested in architecture. Carlisle, however, has already started at St. Patrick's Hospital. He's working overnight."
"And your classes? You like them?"
"It's going fine. It's different than Dartmouth, smaller. But we're past the point of basic courses. Everything from this point on is focused on what we're working toward," I explained.
"I'm proud of you, Bells. You and Edward. The two of you could choose to do nothing or travel like spoiled kids, but you don't. You're always trying to better yourselves. And I'm glad you're closer again. Maybe I can come see you..."
"Soon, I promise," I vowed. "That would be great. I'd like the house finished before you do...and to give Caroline a little more time to harness her control. She's doing great, but she still has moments."
"You tell me when, Bella."
"I will. So how's everyone?" I asked, glancing up when Edward's classroom door opened and students spilled out into the hallway.
I listened as Charlie gave me updates on Jake, Anna, and the kids. Izzie was a firecracker, giving her parents all sorts of hell, but little Eddie was soon to be starting school. Grandpa Charlie spoiled them both to the point of sickness. Seth had finally married Lexi, and one of the wolves' imprints was expecting their first baby. Jessica was doing well and had decided to finish school online, so now she was substitute teaching when she could get the work.
Glancing up, I smirked, trying not to roll my eyes at several girls not only eying Edward like a juicy steak, but were chatting aimlessly around him...or at him, really. His raised eyebrow my way made me laugh silently and turn away. Otherwise, I'd laugh out loud in the poor girls' faces as he politely declined phone numbers, signaling in the direction of "his wife." That hardly slowed them down from asking for a study group. He could've declined, but he didn't, stating that we'd both meet them at the library the following evening. We both had group projects, so it was beneficial to for us to go. God, I just really loved going to school with him.
"Bells, I gotta run. The station is calling the home phone," Charlie stated as Edward straddled the bench behind me.
"You should retire, Dad," I sighed forlornly. "I worry about you. Something stupid could happen. Be safe, okay?"
"Always am," he vowed. "Love ya, kiddo."
"Love you, too," I said softly, but the call was already disconnected.
Warm, sweet lips pressed to my temple as strong arms wrapped around me. "Everything okay, love?"
"Mmmhm," I hummed, leaning into him.
I ignored the jealous glares aimed my way, because there wasn't much I could do about it. Edward was beautiful, that was a fact. They just had no idea that the inner Edward was just as gorgeous – if not more – than the outer Edward. And that was truly saying something.
"I think as time goes on, my worry to cling to Charlie makes me desperate to keep him in some sort of safety bubble." I snorted, turning to smile up at him. "I mean, Jake watches him like a hawk, even when Charlie's not looking. Especially on late-night calls. But still..."
"Jacob follows him?" Edward snickered, shaking his head. "I owe that dog..."
Grinning at the old term, I shrugged a shoulder. "Yeah. For me. Somehow, I'm okay with it. And I know Sue is okay with it." I leaned up, pressing my lips softly to his. "How was class, Mr. Popularity?"
Edward rolled his eyes. "Fine. Though I'm not thrilled about group projects...unless you're in my group. Which you're not. And I'm hating it."
I giggled at him, simply because he was just damned adorable when he babbled all pouty and grumpy. "Let me guess...the flirty triplets are in your group."
"They are my group," Edward growled, his brow furrowing when I cracked up.
"Working with different people could be good for you," I pointed out with a grin.
"It's not the people, Bella..."
"It's their thoughts. I know, handsome," I soothed him, running my fingers through his hair. "Nothing they could possibly imagine could come close to my own daydreams," I purred against his lips that twitched up into his sexy, crooked half-smile.
"Yeah, but yours..." He sighed, his eyes glazing over. "Those are memories, my beautiful girl."
"Why, yes... Yes, they are. Huh... How 'bout that?" I stated with a sing-song lilt to my voice. "See? Much better than worrying about strangers..."
Edward grinned, tilting his head a little. "Perhaps," he hedged, though his eyes grew dark. "And just who's in your group, love?"
I shrugged. "A couple of girls...and a guy," I muttered.
Edward's eyes narrowed dangerously. "A guy..."
"He's harmless, Edward," I groaned and sighed at the same time, thinking poor, poor Leonard had no idea what he was about to face in the library tomorrow. He was already a nervous, twitchy thing. It was why I'd pulled him into the group to begin with; his shyness was almost painful to witness.
"We'll see," he countered, a growl lacing his tone.
"Edward Cullen, don't you dare scare that boy! He's harmless. I promise," I vowed, poking my husband's chest. "Look..." I ordered, showing him the memory of class as we'd separated into our groups and how my shield had pulled the awkward boy in.
His smirk was shameless, but he simply shrugged a shoulder. "Don't care. It's the nervous and twitchy ones you least expect that bury the bodies of beautiful girls in their mother's basement, Bella."
I rolled my eyes. "Unbelievable... I'm pretty sure I can handle an attack by little Leo, baby."
Edward laughed. "I know." He cupped my face, kissing my lips. "And I know we both have homework, but we need to head out to the pond, Bella. I'm not unloading four moving trucks. It's not happening."
"Uhh, me, either," I agreed fervently, standing up and taking his hand. "I have faith in us... Come on."
My husband smirked, listening as my thoughts got away from me, because in all reality, watching him build our home was amazingly sexy and somewhat satisfying to watch. He used every bit of strength and speed to do it, and I was pretty sure the shirtless thing was for my benefit. Though, how he thought we'd ever get anything finished with that in front of me for hours at a time was beyond me. There were some days I just...snapped.
"Eyes on the prize, sweet girl," he reminded silkily in my ear.
I sighed dramatically. "Okay, okay..."
"This is such bullshit," Emmett muttered, slamming the moving truck door closed. He'd just dropped off the last of the boxes. "We all got delayed, so how in the blue fuck did you win, asshole?"
"Um...I didn't let Rose design my house?" I offered sarcastically with a cheesy grin.
He flipped me off before climbing into the cab, which made me laugh because not a bit of the soaping of his mouth by our mother had done any good. His cleaned-up language had lasted all of a single day, and at that point, Esme had given up. Although, she was debating using duct tape in the future.
There was another truck waiting for him at Carlisle and Esme's house to unload for Jasper and Alice. The truth of the matter was we had all run into hang-ups on our homes – permits, weather, access for electricity, and materials. Because Bella's and my house was the farthest out, access was a problem during bad weather. But in all honesty, Rose kept changing her mind on flooring, marble tops, colors, and on and on, until Jasper and I knew Emmett was the loser. We'd finally finished neck and neck just after the new year. Jasper had come in second when his roof tiles were back-ordered.
From the moment I'd seen Bella's idea when it came to our house, it was easy to put pencil to paper, easy to map out exactly what we both wanted. Neither of us wanted to ruin the small piece of perfection that we'd found while hunting that day, so we'd kept our house simple, using natural stone and wood. The result was something in which we were both very proud and happy. Esme had been a huge help, taking our idea and softening it all with the right colors and furniture. The end result was what Bella was mentally calling a fairy tale cottage.
Turning to look at it, I smiled. She was kind of right. It looked unreal against the mountains in the background, but it just fit against the background of the little pond and meadow. The front of the house was large windows, a porch that wrapped around to the side, and rough stone. Inside was high wooden beams, stone fireplaces, and a room specifically for music. Just like our home in London, we'd decided to house all the instruments at our place, simply because my piano was the main focal point of the front window. My girl wouldn't have it any other way.
The back of the house held a large deck that faced out toward our little pond and the Rockies. I'd yet to add the dock she wanted, but once the winter let up, I'd get it done. Almost at that thought, flurries fluttered down around me.
"Yo, Ed?" Emmett called after he'd turned the truck around. When I spun to face him, he grinned, pointing toward the house. "Looks awesome, dude. Like you and Bells combined."
Grinning, I waved a thanks to him. "Careful with this snow, Em. And don't forget tonight's open mic night in Missoula," I told him before he drove down the long driveway, and he stuck a hand out the window in acknowledgment.
I walked back in the house, kicking off my muddy boots at the front door. Gazing around, I shook my head. "Damn, baby... In a hurry or something?"
The giggle I expected echoed from our back bedroom, followed by, "Something like that."
She'd started unpacking almost with the first box off the truck, and it seemed while Emmett and I were unloading instruments, she'd been a busy bee. Books were already on the built-in shelves I'd put in the living room, their boxes broken down and stacked on the porch. Blankets I recognized from our London house were draped over the sofa, loveseat, and chair, and my girl had started a fire.
Walking to our bedroom door, I leaned against the frame and smiled when warm, happy, bright eyes met mine. Our room was a mix of everything just...us. It was soft, using the same bed as we had in London with the metal frame wrapped in iron vines. The bedding was soft, white, and inviting. The furniture was a honey color, and our clothes were already put away. And Bella had started hanging all our pictures.
"I can't help it. I'm ready be out of that stupid apartment. I missed our stuff," she gushed, handing me several empty boxes. "And...Mr. Cullen... We have a paper to write, not to mention be in Missoula later. So...yeah, get to work on that music room."
Laughing, I saluted her, dropped the boxes with the rest on the porch, and made my way into the room that she was leaving to me. Bella was right about the paper, but I knew it wouldn't take long to write. Our outlines were already written. A smile curled the corners of my mouth. School would always be nostalgic for us, but I absolutely adored learning new things with my wife. This time, school was completely different. And it was good. Really good.
Emmett's drums were set up in the far corner, though he'd be back to pack them up for tonight. I'd already mounted the brackets on the wall for all the guitars, so I went about hanging them up – the lowest being the most used. I set my keyboards up along the side wall next to another set of bookshelves that now contained more music than I ever remembered owning, but the collection had only grown when Bella and I got married. The furniture was already set up, but I straightened up, dropped more boxes outside, and finally faced the large ghost in the room.
I slipped the carefully wrapped covers off my piano, dropping them to the floor. Trailing a finger along its edge, I checked for damage, finding none. Shifting it more toward the center of the window, I lifted the top to check for broken strings. It was always treated with the utmost care when we moved, which was Bella's only demand, so I always made sure it was perfect. I tested the tuning, running a quick scale up the keys. God, I'd missed that sound; my keyboards didn't feel the same as the real thing. One or two notes were off key, so I bent over the side, tightening the wires.
"Yes, love," I grunted from under the piano.
"Something broke in the move," she muttered, sounding upset.
I ducked out from under the piano top and turned to look at her. "Well, it was bound to happen eventually, sweetheart. What is it?"
She held up her box of letters, and I grimaced. The wooden box I'd found for her in Caribou was cracked on the top, the hinges snapped off. It was crammed with every note and letter I'd ever written her, including new ones.
"Oh," I sighed, walking to her. "Are they all there?"
"That's all that matters, then, right?" I asked her, tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear that had fallen out of the messy little knot on the top of her head.
"I know, but still... I thought I'd packed it safely in our bag, but I think it dropped," she explained, fidgeting with the latch.
I took the box from her, looking it over. "It can be fixed, you know. New hinges, some wood glue... See? It cracked down the grain of the wood." When her eyes focused more on the box than me, I cupped her chin, making her look me in the eye. "Or I can find you something new."
She shook her head. "I like that one. Can you fix it, really?" she asked, and I could see in her mind that she was putting every bit of her faith in me on this small situation.
It was always the little things that meant the most to Bella. She loved the house, but she really just loved having a place to surround herself with our things. She'd hated the apartment we'd rented in Missoula, simply because it never felt like "home" to her. She loved our pictures, our story, and every word I'd ever written her, and she'd loved that I'd given her something to house those words in. Because I'd given it to her, she loved it, and therefore, she was sad that it could possibly be ruined.
"I'll sure as hell try, sweet girl. Promise," I vowed, setting the box on the table by the sofa.
"Please." She kissed my lips, turning to face the room. "Looks good in here, baby," she said with a smile, her eyes landing on the piano. "I guess I should be grateful it was just a box that was cracked and not this," she said with a snort, running a finger along its shiny, black surface. "It's good to see. It's been too long."
"It has," I agreed, guiding her to the bench and sitting down next to her. "I was just about to test it. Let's see if I tuned it okay."
She snickered, rolling her eyes. Her thoughts were wry, as she couldn't imagine that I couldn't tune it. But she sat quietly, letting me play bits and pieces of different songs to test it. When I looked over at her, she was gazing around the house, her thoughts blocked from me.
"I'm really lucky," she said with a giggle. "You took every idea and put it in here. I should thank you, Edward." Her voice was soft, sweet, and a little emotional.
"It's how we won," I teased her, nudging her with my shoulder. "I didn't have to deal with changing plans, color changes, or last-minute rooms being added on."
She grinned. "Yeah, that's awesome."
I pulled her to my lap, and she straddled my legs, wrapping her arms around my neck. Cupping her face, I said, "They say opposites attract, my love. And in some ways, we are, but in others...we're very similar creatures, Bella. This...we just want a place to call ours. That was really easy. The aesthetics were not important to me."
"I know," I sighed contentedly, kissing her lips softly. "And that made giving you this place so very easy, my sweet girl. And you never have to thank me. Ever. You're my wife, and it's my job to provide a home for you. But this place is just as much my dream as yours. Understand?"
Bella's smile was warm and sweet. She kissed my lips softly, settling comfortably into my neck. "You know what I want?"
"Unfortunately, no. You're thoughts are conspicuously missing from my mind," I said with a chuckle, shaking when she laughed into my neck. "Thankfully, so are everyone else's."
She laughed again, pulling back to look at me. "I want to try that new bathtub, Edward. The paper can wait until tomorrow."
"Oh, hell yes..." I gushed, standing up from the piano bench and keeping her in my arms. I dropped kisses to her neck as her head fell back with her laughter.
The bathroom was much like the one in the cabin we'd rented in Maine. A large sunken tub was the center-point of the room, and I could see that my girl had already filled it up with fragrant hot water.
"Nice, Bella," I growled in her ear.
I took my time with her since we were forgoing the paper until tomorrow. I undressed us slowly, bathed her slowly, even dried her off slowly, and eventually, I loved her slowly in a bed we hadn't seen in quite some time. When it was time to load up the SUV with all the instruments, I didn't want to leave her arms, our bed, or our house. But I did, because this was going to be a huge test for Caroline.
She'd wanted so badly to see us play in public, so this would be her first test with humans. Of course, we'd all be there – Bella, especially – but as we pulled up to the main house, she was already outside, bouncing like Alice. She and Archie were to ride with us, the rest following in two more cars.
What Caroline didn't know was that Archie was planning to propose. And he looked about as nervous as a vampire could look without the ability to sweat. His hand was fidgeting with the box in his pants pocket, his teeth worried his bottom lip, and he'd pace a few steps before coming to a standstill. Caroline assumed he was nervous for her, but only I knew the truth, which he begged me silently to keep to myself. He was going to wait until we were all back here to do it, but the ring weighed heavily in his pocket as a reminder. Plus, he was afraid if he didn't hold onto it, he'd lose his nerve.
I gazed around at the main house. It was an insane home. The main portion of the house was built with glass and heavy wood, edged in brick. The front had a waterfall-type fountain that trickled down to a small pool. Several bedrooms, a formal dining room, and a sunken living room were just a glimpse of what was inside. Along the side in the same brick as the house was a separate four-car garage. The place was perfect for my parents. Not only did it give them, Archie, Caroline, Kevin, and Adrian enough room to live comfortably, but it had enough room to store all the vehicles that couldn't make it down long, winding dirt roads. Bella's Ferrari, our motorcycles, and Alice's Porsche were among them. Jasper had held up his end of the bet and brought them all here, where they would now stay.
The ride into Missoula was quick, the three cars pulling into the local pub. Carlisle, Esme, Archie, and Caroline went in the front door to save seats for everyone, while the rest helped us unload. So far, Caroline was maintaining just fine.
"Damn, I'm gonna miss Dwayne," Emmett chortled, shaking his head about the guy from the bar in New Brunswick.
"But not the way he smelled," Kevin and Bella muttered at the same time, wearing matching looks of disgust.
Laughing, I kissed my girl. "So true. Go ahead, love. We're on next."
She sighed, but nodded. She'd promised her brothers, as well as Caroline, that she'd sing..."just this one time." This was a younger bar than the one in Canada, aimed more toward the college crowd, so with careful discussion, we'd decided on two songs. Bella and I would sing the first, but the second was all about Kevin and Emmett.
As we set up the stage, I eyed my girl as she hummed softly to herself, pacing a little along the side wall. The song we were doing was an angry song, but she promised me it was okay. It was something that was merely a memory, but she did sound amazing singing it. When Caroline had requested "My Immortal" as a joke, my first instinct was to scream no – as was Jasper's. But Bella had declined softly and kindly, telling her she'd sing another Evanescence song instead. So she opted for "Going Under," which I'd be singing harmony with her, as well as playing lead guitar.
Once the stage was set, we were introduced, and the curtain rose, Bella turned to me. This is just a song, Edward. It isn't the way I feel anymore. You know that, right?
I smiled, shooting her a wink at always knowing what I was thinking. "Then kill it, baby..."
With a nod, we started together, with Emmett heavy on drums. Kevin was bass, and Jasper was the rhythm guitar on this one. Dressed in all black, my girl's looks, voice, and pain that came through her singing won the audience instantly, and from what I could see, Caroline was shocked.
My Bella worked the stage hard, teasing with Kevin and Jasper, but on the chorus, she'd come to me, sharing my microphone. Occasionally, she'd press her forehead to my cheek, giving me a look that was heated, loving.
When the song was over, she giggled, took her bow, gave me a sweet kiss, and joined everyone else at the tables.
Keeping the same guitar, I stepped back to allow Kevin the front stage. Rush's "Spirit of Radio" was a tough song to not only sing, but Emmett had his work cut out for him. However, that was what he wanted – a challenge.
Jasper took bass, and with a look to Emmett, I picked out the difficult beginning to the song. The very second that Emmett nailed the rough start, the crowd shot to their feet. The time changes were fun, the lyrics all about the radio and the strange sounds of new music, and when we were finished, we received huge cheers.
It felt strange not to be singing a song specifically for my Bella, but I resigned myself to do it another night. Or I could simply make it up to her at home later – a thought that made me smile to myself as I loaded the car back up.
"Dude," Jasper sighed, eying me. "What the hell?"
"Sorry." I chuckled, shrugging a shoulder. "I'll tone it down, brother."
"Normally, I can ignore it," he countered, shaking his head a little and wearing his wry grin. "But Archie's about to drive me insane. His emotions are all over the joint, overshadowing all your new little groupies out there..."
I growled, rolling my eyes at his taunting laugh. "You need to quit listening to Bella," I argued, pointing a guitar neck at him. "And Archie's...nervous..."
"Why?" he asked, but he froze, his eyes widening. "He's finally asking her!" he gushed in a whisper.
I grinned. "Yeah, so maybe...help him a little?"
"Like soon...I think. Maybe tonight?" I guessed. "His thoughts are...erratic. Alice can't pinpoint them, either."
Once the cars were loaded back up, I picked up Bella's hand, giving it a kiss. "You were unbelievable, Bella."
She smiled, looking over at me, but her brow furrowed a little. "Thank you, but what aren't you telling me?"
Chuckling at the fact that she knew me better than anyone, I said, "I can't say. I've been sworn to secrecy. However, we have to stop at the main house before we go home. Carlisle wants a family meeting."
"But everything's okay, right?" she asked, squeezing our linked fingers.
"Oh, love...it's good. Don't worry. I'd tell you if it wasn't," I promised.
We all parked in Carlisle's driveway, but Bella and I laughed at Emmett when he scooped Caroline up into his enormous arms.
"You did good, kiddo!" he praised her. "How'd it feel joining the masses again?"
She giggled, nodding when he set her back down so we could step inside the house. "It felt...awesome!" she gushed. "I mean, I remembered everything – to hold my breath if someone smelled too strong, to move my shoulders to make look like I was breathing, and to not move too fast. But you guys were great!"
"It was a good night," Carlisle piped up softly as he watched us from his chair by the fireplace. "I just wanted a word with all of you before we separated for the night."
We settled around the living room, and I could see that he simply wanted to congratulate Caroline on her first outing and the rest of us for the completion of our homes.
"I've been with some of you a very long time," he started, his eyes meeting mine and then Esme's. "At one point, I never imagined that my family would ever be this big. Some of you, I changed, and others came to me later, but all of you have become so very important. You're my wife, my sons, my daughters. All of you are the key to protecting what we believe in, the essence of good and right and loyal. I just... All of you worked together like a team, a flawless machine to get us here, and to see each and every one of you flourishing... Well, that means so much to me. I just wanted to thank you all for handing me a life that I never thought I'd have."
My brow wrinkled at his emotions because he hadn't been sure we'd be able to stick together, but we'd found a way. Bella curled into me, and I wrapped my arms around her, pressing kisses to the top of her head.
Carlisle stood up, smiling around the room. "I also wanted to congratulate those of you that moved into your homes today," he said with a chuckle when Emmett and Jasper high-fived. "That and a well-done to Caroline for her first time out in public," he proclaimed with a wink her way. "Anyway, I'll let you get back to your unpacking and settling in. I just wanted to let you know that I foresee an amazing few years here..."
Archie stood up. "I... Umm... I need to say something, Carlisle," he said nervously, and Jasper and I grinned at each other.
"The floor is yours, son," our father stated, sitting down next to Esme, but his eyes locked with mine.
I simply shook my head.
Archie looked every bit like he'd be sweating bullets if he were capable. But he had more on his mind than the hard question he intended to ask.
"Since you're all here," he started softly, his nose wrinkling a little. "I just... Well, I needed to thank you, too. All of you." He sighed, letting out a deep breath. "I've been alone a long time. And most of that time was spent...not myself. I never imagined when Victoria changed me that there was this out there for me." He gestured around the living room, but he meant new places, as well as a big family. "I owe you all so much for saving me from what I thought was the only way to live. Many days, I think back and wonder what if you had picked another house, another city, another state...and I know I'd still be right there...in that dirty basement, barely aware of my own name."
"Oh, sweetheart..." Esme sighed, starting to go to him, but he smiled at her and held up a hand.
"This family is amazing, and I owe each of you a debt of gratitude for getting me here," he stated firmly, like it wasn't to be argued. His hand went to his pocket, and his eyes locked onto Caroline, who was an emotional mess by this point because she agreed with him about our unique family. "But I owe another thank you..."
He fell to one knee in front of his girl, which caused coos to echo out of each and every woman in the house.
"I need to thank you," he told her, his hands shaking as he picked up her own. "For putting up with me, for forgiving me, and for simply showing up at the door one day. I've made you promises, and I haven't forgotten them, Carrie. I just... I wanted to give you time to settle in, to grieve over your father, and to get used to this crazy household..."
We all laughed at him, but he shook his head, wearing a small smile. However, Caroline's hand was covering her gaping mouth.
"I know that it's not...modern, but there's nothing I want more than to tie myself to you, to make you mine in every way." He brought out the ring, looking up at her with a fragile expression on his face. "You said once that you wanted a love that would never fade away. I promise that'll never happen. I'll love you just as much in a hundred years as I do right now. Caroline, will you marry me?"
Every girl in the house – plus Kevin and Adrian – was chanting "say yes!" in their head, and I buried my smile into Bella's sweet-smelling hair.
However, Caroline couldn't speak, so she opted to nod vehemently, launching herself into his arms.
They won't wait long, Alice thought to me, showing me that the wedding would be soon – spring, it looked like.
I shot her a smile but then rolled my eyes when thoughts of planning another wedding consumed her.
"Oh hell, Alice," I groaned, shaking my head, which made Bella giggle.
Archie swung Caroline up into his arms and set her back down, and that was when the whole family descended upon them with congratulations – hugs from the guys and kisses from the girls.
When Archie got to Carlisle, he said, "I'd like it here...and I'd really like it if you performed it. If you're willing."
Carlisle's eyebrows shot up, unable to hide his surprise, but he clapped Archie on the shoulder. "We'll see what we can do. Okay, son?"
Archie smiled and nodded. "Okay." He turned to me. "And I'd really like it if you'd be my Best Man."
Grinning, I nodded. "Archie, I'd be honored."
The professor droned on and on, but I wasn't listening to a word he said. Why he expected anyone to pay attention on the day before spring break, I had no idea. My thoughts were shielded from the man sitting next to me. His elegant fingers were wrapped around a pen, jotting notes like he always did. Knowing Edward, though, his mind was in several different directions – music, the wedding tomorrow, our guests arriving...and most likely, me.
I bit the inside of my cheek as Edward slipped down in his desk just a little, his long legs spreading out to accommodate the desk in front of him. He was so tall that sometimes, he had to fold himself into a chair. Denim clung to thighs, muscles rolled on his forearm as he continued to write, and his other hand shot to his hair. My eyes swept the classroom, and yeah, I wasn't the only one lost to him. Only I had the satisfaction of knowing his heart belonged to me.
I gazed out the window into the cloudy day. Tomorrow – the day of Archie and Caroline's wedding – was supposed to be sunny. Today, not so much. The two of them decided to get married quickly, which rocked poor Alice's world when it came to planning, but she'd managed to pull it off. Since neither of them were seen in public much, there weren't to be any human guests, save one. Charlie. However, some of our old friends would be joining us for the nuptials. Marcus, Demitri, Carina, Catherine, and Brandon were all coming. They'd all taken an interest in not only Archie and his rough start, but to how we'd pulled off this last move.
My head shot up when Edward sighed deeply, his heavy brow furrowing. With another quick glance around, I saw the problem. Lily. The girl couldn't keep her eyes or her thoughts to herself. Ever. I understood it, but it made Edward uncomfortable. A quick shift of my shield, and he relaxed, dropping the pen to play with my fingers. He also fiddled with my wedding ring, and that made Lily frown and face the front of the classroom again. It was a subtle marking of my territory, but it worked nonetheless.
Professor Billings finished up, wishing everyone a safe spring break, and I smiled up at Edward.
"Ready, handsome?" I asked him. "Don't you have strip clubs to see and bucks to tuck?"
"Shut up, Bella," he snorted, rolling his eyes. "As if Jasper could handle a strip club... He'd probably spontaneously combust under that much creepy lust. And Archie would be mortified at the sight of one."
Giggling, I packed up my things. "Just kidding...geez!"
My husband laughed, standing and slinging both our bags to his shoulder, but his free arm wrapped around my shoulders as we made our way out of the classroom and through the hallways. Suddenly, I knew that when we made it to the parking lot, Emmett would be there to take Edward from me, and we'd be separated.
"Hey, hey," Edward soothed, stopping us just out front. He shook his head. "Not for long. We planned it so that it wouldn't be an issue. We'll be back together tonight. We'll separate tomorrow just to get ready for the wedding, and then we'll stay in once it's all over."
"I know, I know..." I chanted, but it was the pain I hated more than anything. The punch to my chest that felt like nothing would ever be okay again. "You're not going far tonight, right?"
"Not if I can help it," he vowed. "And you girls are staying in?"
"Yeah, at our house," I told him with a nod. "Esme was taking Caroline hunting today...like now, but then we're all meeting at our house to have a girls night in. When you boys are done, you'll come there." There were girly movies and the painting of toes in my future, I was sure of it.
"Okay. I want you to text or call if you need. Understand me?" he confirmed, but this plan was already cemented with everyone. Our family was aware that this was a touchy few hours, but everyone agreed that Archie and Caroline should observe some traditions.
"Yup," I sighed forlornly, gazing up at him.
He reached into his pocket and handed me the keys to the Volvo SUV. "Good. I love you, and I'll see you in a few hours. You girls have fun," he said with a chuckling kiss to my forehead.
"Love you, too," I told him with a smile.
A horn honked, and we both waved to Emmett. However, Edward turned back to me, his mouth curled up into a sexy half-grin.
"Oh yeah, and thanks for the Lily thing," he snorted, kissing my lips.
"Do I want to know?"
"Nope." He laughed, shooting a wink my way as he dragged his tongue along his bottom lip. "Just know you're better at it. I mean...really, really good at it..."
"Oh," I gasped, narrowing my eyes at him, and he turned to walk to Emmett. "Edward Cullen... You can't...say shit like that and then hop into Emmett's truck!"
He was still laughing at me when the door closed on the Ford.
A wedding reception for immortals was an entirely different affair. It was different than my own wedding that had been a mix of both human, vampire, and wolf guests. Archie and Caroline's only had one human guest, and Esme had fed Charlie well.
It had been a beautiful, simple wedding. Carlisle had stood before them, looking handsome and refined as he quoted scriptures and said prayers. Edward had handed over the rings proudly, giving a tuxedo a whole different level of sexy. I'd stood as Maid of Honor, and I was glad to do it. Esme had been an emotional mess because to her, she felt like the mother of both the bride and the groom.
I nudged Marcus's shoulder, smirking at him. "Now see? This is the sort of thing that should bring you around more often. Not emergency calls."
"Ah, amore," he crooned, his Italian accent lilting around me. "This is the type of thing I wish I saw more often." His sweet smile fell a little. "That's an interesting color of purple you're showing me, Isabella." His eyes shot across the backyard of the main house to look at Edward.
"I know," I told him, kissing his cheek. "It'll all be remedied as soon as the happy couple leaves on their honeymoon."
"And where are they off to, little one?" Demitri asked, joining us at the edge of the yard, and I hugged Carina.
"Isle Esme," I said with a giggle. "Carlisle and Esme are going with them, but they're staying on the mainland."
"That must be some island," Charlie chortled, shaking his head.
"It is," I sighed, linking my arm through his. "You should go. Carlisle and Esme have told you more than one time that you and Sue were welcomed to stay there."
"Maybe...after I retire," he said, eying me for my reaction. He grinned when my mouth gaped open. "It's time, Bells. Plus, I busted Jake following me not too long ago when I got a late-night domestic disturbance call. He wouldn't say whether it was you or Sue, but then I figured it was probably both of you."
Smiling, I shrugged, unapologetic for keeping him safe. "What will you do now?"
"Fish, kiddo. Billy's more excited about the prospect than I am," he said with a chuckle. "We're gonna teach Izzie and Eddie."
"Good! It's how it should be," I huffed with a firm tone.
"I'm glad to know I'm not the only man she bosses around," Marcus murmured wryly.
Several men laughed, including the sexy one I didn't expect.
"She enjoys it too much to put a stop to it," Edward said, kissing the side of my head. "They're getting ready to leave, sweet girl."
We all followed the newlyweds to the car out in the driveway, and Carlisle and Esme took the front seat. With hugs, kisses, and a few dirty jokes that Esme didn't hear, Archie and Caroline dove into the back seat. They looked so happy and a little nervous, but they simply fit together. More importantly, they fit with everyone around us. We'd come a long way from haunted houses and ghost-like minds.
Rolling my eyes at the really expensive – and unused – shoes that were tied to the back of the car, I finally looked up at Charlie.
"Can you stay?"
He shook his head. "No, Bells. I've got a flight out tonight. I'm turning in my retirement when I get home."
"'Kay." I pouted, but kissed his cheek. "Love you, Dad. Call me when you land."
"Love you, too." He turned to Edward, shook his hand, and gave him a one-armed hug. "Good to see you, son. Jake extends an invitation for a visit to the rez."
"Tell him thank you, sir," Edward replied, giving him a single nod and linking our fingers together.
A few more hugs, a few more goodbyes and promises to visit again, and Edward tugged me toward the edge of the backyard.
"Race you home," I told him, taking off with a laugh.
Edward let me win, but I saw why once I made inside our house and into our room. Sitting in the middle of the bed was my box of letters. It was repaired perfectly, and on top was a folded piece of paper.
My beautiful wife,
Do you remember our wedding? Of course you do. I've seen your memories lately with Archie and Caroline's big day looming closer. You remember it so differently than I do, though.
You saw it as a turning of a page in our lives, and while that may have been true, I saw it as a way to show the world that we were one, that we were made to be together. It was my way of binding myself to the one perfect thing that I could not live without. I'd vowed to you in a letter much like this one that I'd never run from you again. And I haven't. I've tried my best to give you everything that you ever wanted, even the tiniest of whims. And it's been the best years of my very long life, my love.
You were nervous that day. It radiated throughout the house, but it all ebbed away the moment our eyes met as Charlie walked you down the aisle. It was right then that I knew that no matter what we did, where we moved, or what difficulties we faced, we'd do it together...as a team. As Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cullen. And we have. You are my perfect and most cherished partner, no matter what we've faced.
Nothing I've ever witnessed, experienced, or seen through others' minds prepared me for you. Nothing. And somehow, that made it all worthwhile. I may have been around a long time when I met you, but all those years erased at the sight of your beautiful face. I was lost, confused, and completely yours. I was truly seventeen again and totally at your mercy. Where I should have fallen at your feet and given in, I didn't. It's a mistake I live with every day of my existence, but your open heart, eternal love, and never-ending forgiveness makes me a better man. It makes me grateful. So very, very grateful.
My sweet, sweet girl, I want to thank you. You'll never understand just how much your love, your support, your constant protection means to me. I want to thank you for the eight, almost nine years of marriage, for giving me all of your heart, body, and mind, and for giving me back something that I thought was long gone – my soul. You've given my life meaning and purpose and a happiness that I can't even express in words – neither written, nor verbal.
You're everything I ever wanted and some things I didn't know I needed.
I thanked Carlisle when we were back in Maine for giving me a life that I'd hated in the beginning, but I thanked him for saving me...for you. You're right, my Bella. I was yours the day I was born in 1901, yours the day I was changed in 1918, and yours the moment you stepped into biology in 2005. I waited. I waited, not knowing that my reward would overshadow any possible daydream I could come up with in my lacking imagination.
I'm leaving this letter with the rest of the words I've ever given you. The box is as good as new once more, but much like us, it was broken and has been put back together again. It's what's inside that means the most. It's my broken heart laid out for you when I left, it's my vows to never, ever do that again, and it's my love expressed in teases, prose, and endless descriptions of your beauty, your body, your mind. It's all the ways I truly, unequivocally love you. And just like me, these words are surrounded by a protection that has and can be broken.
I vow to you, Bella... It will never happen again.
I love you, Mrs. Cullen. I love you more and more each day, with a love that never stops growing. I love to watch you thrive in this life, to revel in us, and to accept each new day with a smile and a sweet laugh. That, to me, made waiting for you worth every minute. And I will continue to love you until the end of time.
I dropped the note onto the bed and turned to face him. He was casually leaning in our bedroom doorway, his hands deep in his pockets, like he was fighting with himself to just reach out and touch. He gazed up at me through his long, beautiful eyelashes, looking a bit shy.
"Thank you," I whispered, my brow furrowing at just how much I was thanking him for – the list was endless. I was grateful that he even existed, so things like broken boxes, a new home, his utter, angelic devotion and protection seemed insignificant in comparison.
Just his written words had caused the reconnection of our separation to heal a little, but the electricity that surrounded us edged up a notch. It was fusing us back together, meshing our souls, and cementing our love.
"For what, love?" he asked, walking slowly to me, his eyes darkening with each step taken.
Smiling, I kissed his lips. "For everything, Edward. Just...everything."
A/N... **Sniff, sniff** That's all she wrote. There were so many things, like I said, that I wanted to touch on for the ending. But mostly, I wanted to end it here. Right there... Where they were accepting of every step they'd taken.
Before you ask...and before you say it... No...Dirty Edward will never be revealed. That bet will never be cleared up, and I'll tell you why. Edward told Bella in this fic that it was a part of them, a part of their foreplay, so to speak. Look, girls talk more than men. They discuss way too much probably, but I know that most women – because I do it – keep a few things to themselves. There are some things that are private and personal and to tell them to someone else would ruin the magic of it all. Maybe it's the way a kiss feels when you know it'll lead to more, or the way he smiles from across the room, or even the way he holds you when it's all said and done. But you know there's something that you keep for yourself. That's what DE is here. That perfect, private, inside tidbit that will forever remain just Bella's. Okay?
Last additions to the playlist:
"Going Under" by Evanescence
"Spirit of Radio" by Rush
Here come the thank yous:
I truly need to thank JenRar first and foremost. Without her, this plot wouldn't exist. It started as a quick email from me that said, "I feel like writing something dark and creepy." LOL That's it. That's all it took. XD Several thousand emails later – something that just proves the two of us never shut the hell up – we're here. And I need to thank her for not only clearing up all my mistakes but for every single push, shove, and "you got this" aimed my way. Despite the fact that we've never met face to face, Jenny, you have become one of my best friends. Thank you. Love you...with a sickness. MWAH!
To my pre-readers, GooberLou and inkedupmom... I love you both, and I can't tell you enough just what it means when I text either of you going... "I need to pick your brain, dammit!" LOL If we can't get together soon, I'm going to have one or both of you kidnapped. No lie. No exaggeration. ;) Thank you for your pushing, your ability to say, "Uhh, no. That'll suck." LOL Love you both.
And to my readers: THANK YOU! Please know that I read each and every review. I love them all. I can't tell you how much it means to me when you beg for more...more Angelward, more Mercward, more ANYTHING, PLEASE! ;) Thank you for taking this last journey with our fave vamps. And know that I'm not going anywhere, that I'll be back soon with something...I just can't say what.
Lastly...OUTTAKES... Okay, so the votes are leaning heavily toward the Cave/Storm outtake. Though, some of you are voting both. LOL That wasn't the question! :D But I get it. I'll work on that outtake soon enough. Just put me on alert, because it'll go into the Angel Dust outtakes on my profile. Okay?
With a heavy yet very thankful heart, I click "Complete" on Angelward for the last time. And I thank all of you again and again. I'll be back soon. Until then... Mooches, Deb :)