It's finally finished. Just wanted to thank all of you for being so patient with me. And I hope it was worth the wait.
30 years later
They are sitting on the porch, basking in the warm evening breeze of oncoming summer. Their fingers are laced together, each adorning their own gold ring. The salmon coloured paint on the house has faded over the years, and the varnish has been worn away in some spots on the floor of the kitchen. The walls are adorned with more framed photos, and every nook and cranny contains memories they both remember.
They eventually remarried, and it was a day they both cherish dearly, most of all Belle.
They've gotten drunk on cheap champagne on several occasions, one bottle for each book Belle got published.
They've seen Paris and Rome and how shit the weather can get in the English countryside during the winter.
They've had fights, shared kisses that made their toes curl, and whispered filthy declarations of devotion more times than they can count.
They've survived two miscarriages and were blessed one healthy baby boy, Bae, who wore them out and brought more joy into their lives than they could've possibly imagined. They've sat through piano recitals and kissed the hurt of bruises away. They've watched him blush before his first date. They've watched him graduate. They've watched his car pull out of the driveway, packed with moving boxes and an acceptance letter to Stanford. They've nursed his heartaches and watched him fall for someone who brings out the best in him. They've watched him start a family of his own.
Sometimes they wish he was still living with them, and sometimes they're glad to have the place to themselves.
They have no regrets; nothing they wished would've turned out differently.
Belle never regained her memories.
Some nights she'd wake up from dreams that felt so familiar and vivid that she was certain it was her memories returning to her. She'd ask Rum whether what she'd dreamt had actually happened. And it broke his heart to tell her that it hadn't.
But he'd made sure she had enough memories for several lifetimes.
Yet, sometimes she felt the need to say she was sorry, sorry for leaving him alone with the memories.
"I'm sorry I never remembered," she'd whisper.
He'd kiss her temple and whisper back, "It's alright, my love. I remember for the both of us."