Here it is. The last chapter. I am so very sad to see it go. Thank you so much for reading. The response to this story has just blown my mind and thank you all so much for your support and encouragement.
A farewell review would be much appreciated.
Donna is the very best beta in the world and she's made writing this bad boy such a positive experience.
I own nothing.
See you guys next time!
Moving will forever be a horrible pain in the ass and a necessarily frequent hassle so long as Nessie and Carlisle elect to live in the human world. This is my hope for my daughter especially and despite all that went wrong during the course of her long childhood, this I did right.
Ness can easily live as a mortal.
Our daughter has options and now she's found her place somewhere in the middle of the supernatural and human.
"You couldn't have stored some of this stuff?" I ask her now, riffling through a giant box containing hundreds of journals, the oldest dating back to the 1970s.
"And risk one of you nosy freaks reading my deepest, darkest secrets? I think not. They are only safe from prying eyes with me," replies my daughter, pulling the box towards her protectively.
I watch in amusement as she attempts to shove the thing under her bed. This is not the first box to get such treatment and something cracks but Ness succeeds in her goal.
"There," she says, unconcerned. "All unpacked."
"It worked," she says.
"If you didn't insist on carting around so much crap there'd be more room under the bed to 'unpack.'"
"Mom, you still move with every doodle I've ever drawn."
"They are so good!"
"I drew them when I was like thirty-six."
That's Vanessa for nine. Suddenly she's giggling.
"Isn't it funny, that after years of this, we still have the same old fights?" she asks, grinning.
"I suppose," returning her bright smile.
Since leaving Forks twenty years ago we've moved five times, but I've yet to find anywhere that really feels like home. Permanence is just not in the cards for us, but Edward and Nessie and my family are constantly around and it's enough.
Still, it takes me longer to get comfortable in a new place, probably a lingering effect of past traumas. I'll always be haunted by my demon, by the knowledge of my horrible capabilities, but Ness is happy and Edward is always here, loving me, bringing me out of the darkness.
"Hamburg is going to fucking awesome, Mom," she informs me.
"Don't say fucking," I reply. "No cursing."
"Fuck, Jacob!" Edward's shout from the hall totally undoes my previous statement, making Nessie giggle.
We exchange a look before rushing to stop Edward from doing anything ridiculous.
Over the years the two have become something close to friends. When Ness started dating Nahuel two years ago, they became extremely annoying allies, but then she dumped the hybrid and started smiling at the wolf with a twinkle in her eye. Poor Jake is once more suffering the wrath of Edward.
"Jeeze, chill out, dude! Not all of us have super human moving skills. Slow down if you don't want me taking another chunk out of the wall," replies Jacob.
They are working together to move our headboard into the bedroom. Either could obviously lift the thing easily all on their own, but the angles between the stairs and the hall require one of them to pivot while the other holds one end higher.
I lean against the doorframe to Nessie's room, watching her take charge of the situation, directing both men before they can keep bickering. A few minutes later we have an assembled bed and for this I'm thankful. Exhaustion still plagues me and I want nothing more than to lie down with my husband.
"You ready to go?" Jacob asks when all the boxes and furniture are in the correct room, although far from unpacked and assembled.
"Yeah," replies my daughter. "Just as soon as I find my purse."
I sit with my legs crossed at the end of our bed, watching Nessie look around the chaotic mess of the room. Edward emerges from the closet, immediately tensed at the way this evening seems to be turning.
"Going?" hisses Edward, obviously in one of his moods. "Going?"
"Jake and I are going to grab a bite in the city. Explore a little," she explains.
Hamburg is a forty-five minute drive from our idyllic bit of countryside and forest. Our little house is on a river with the rest of the family sharing a home a mile away. All our moves have in Europe since the burning. It makes it easier for various members of my family to do their time in Italy with the council.
We are here at Nessie's request and she'll be starting at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre to study classical piano. High school never held much interest for our daughter. She looks young for university so the story is she skipped the fourth grade and the eighth.
Funny, because she's done both. Dozens of times.
"You can eat here," Edward says. He frowns at me when I laugh.
"We have no food, Dad," Ness says with a sigh.
Suddenly Edward's head whips around to glare at Jacob. "She is not beautiful!" he snarls, responding to the wolf's thoughts.
"Thanks, Dad," Nessie replies, rolling her eyes as Jacob drops his gaze to the ground, a faint blush tinting his cheeks.
"You know what I mean," Edward snaps.
He means that of course Nessie looks beautiful but he doesn't want Jake thinking about it.
"Hardly ever," replies Ness, unfazed by her father's tantrum. "What's my curfew?"
"Nine," says Edward. Nessie rolls her eyes again as she turns to me.
"When's my curfew, Mom?"
"One," she counters.
"Midnight," I say.
Before anyone can say anything else she kisses Edward's cheek, repeating the action with me and dragging Jacob out the front door to her car.
"Midnight?" asks Edward with a heavy sigh. "Really?"
"It's already after eight. They'd have to turn around before they even get where they're going to get home by nine."
He looks so evil when he says this I laugh.
"Soon she won't even have a curfew." My own statement has me pouting and I get up, my legs restless.
"We have four more years," he replies.
"What's four more years when she's lived a century?"
Edward grumbles, moving to the window so he can pout a little himself. I move towards him, pressing my front into his back, wrapping my arms around his waist. As the tension leaves his body I close my eyes and breathe him in deep.
"I hate this as much as you do," I murmur.
My reasons are different. Although I've had a century to accept Jacob, I'll never truly get over my failure to keep Ness safe. When I finally came back to myself all those years ago I barely let her out of my sight for a decade. In the end she had to sit me down, saying that she'd rather take the risk and really live then stay with me constantly, experiencing nothing on her own. She was so earnest and articulate, I relented slightly, but seeing her leave gets no easier.
"I can make it better," I murmur, tugging at his sweater.
I feel the rumble from his answering chuckle in my chest.
"Tradition does dictate that we christen every room in our new house," he replies.
"Well, if it's tradition," I reply. "We can't very well argue with tradition."
Before the last word is fully out of my mouth I find myself up ended. A squeak escapes my throat as Edward unceremoniously throws me over his shoulder, cave man style.
"We better get going. You, the tyrant that you are, only gave our daughter a measly four hours away."
I laugh as he tosses me on the bed and kisses me dizzy.
Two years later
"It's just a date!" our daughter tugs at her hair as she paces around our living room.
"It's not just a date!" my husband yells right back, hands also in his hair. He is doing his pacing behind me where I'm seated sideways on the couch, my head bobbing back and forth as the two most important beings in my universe square off.
Alice sits across from me, practically vibrating with excitement as she watches the madness. Jazz is in the kitchen as the emotions in here are running a bit high. They're fresh in from Italy, back from doing a stint with the council to deal with some lawbreaker or another.
I don't want the details. I never want the details.
Nessie's announcement interrupted our catch up.
"It is an overnight trip with a pedophilic creature that has been obsessed with you for a century!" Edward continues, making everyone in the room wince.
Ness lets out a shriek. "You're ridiculous! And this should be no big deal! We've gone away together lots of times and this shouldn't be any different just because I've almost stopped growing!"
Something stirs in my chest because we're down to two years before Vanessa is officially a grown up. Two years to Ness is close to six months to a human, so she won't actually do much growing, but the milestone is significant.
The whole thing is rather bittersweet.
"Everything is different!" hisses Edward. He stops his pacing to better glare at our daughter. His fingers dig into the back of the couch. I reach out to hold his hand because he needs some morale support.
Plus, I like this couch. I'd rather he not rip it apart.
"You've never been alone," says Edward yet again.
"We won't be alone!" says Nessie yet again.
I should probably intervene at some point. "A bunch of their friends are going up for the weekend, Edward. At least twenty collage humans," I murmur.
My reasons for not wanting Nessie to spend the weekend skiing in Switzerland are very different from my husband's, but she will stop growing in three years and I need to learn to let go.
"She herself called it a date! He is her date. For the weekend!" Edward is really freaking out here, reacting as if nothing has changed since 1934 when Nessie would have been nearly seventeen if not for the whole vampire thing.
Nessie actually blushes – a rare sight – but doesn't let up her pacing. "A ski date," she replies. "No big deal."
"You've kissed!" Edward declares.
I sigh heavily, shaking my head at my husband. It happened over a week ago but I didn't need his mind reading abilities to clue me in. I just knew.
And his current reaction is exactly why I neglected to share my suspicions.
How they managed to keep this a secret from Edward for so long is something of a mystery.
Edward is completely ignoring my plan to give Ness space until she is ready to confide in us. In retrospect it would have been wise to fill him in on said plan.
"I knew it!" exclaims Alice.
"Hush, Alice," I say.
"You're clairvoyant!" Ness yells. "Of course you knew it!"
Edward growls and Nessie stops her pacing to square off with her father. It's rather terrifying when the two of them fight. They are far too similar, with their ridiculous height and the bronze hair and that scary similar expression of rage that comes across their scary similar faces.
I'm trapped in the middle, in every sense.
Nessie's hands fist at her sides and she gets so red I start to worry.
"That is private," she hisses, her vampire emerging in this moment. "How dare you invade my mind? It's a violation!"
"I can't control it," he mutters, slightly guilty now. He glances at me apologetically and I just pat his hand consolingly. He's on his own with this one.
"You promised!" Ness yells, completely furious now. "You said you'd have the decency to pretend like you don't know stuff like that!"
He did indeed make this promise when she kissed her first human at a homecoming dance fifteen years ago. Mostly he kept it during her slightly more serious relationship with Nahuel.
Edward is maybe attempting an apology but we'll never know now because Ness just continues to yell. There is a lot of ranting. Alice whispers in my ear, wanting popcorn to go with the show. With half an ear I listen to my daughter let the anger out, but mostly I focus on the world beyond. The rest of the family is supposed to be wandering in at any moment and I'd really like this fight to be winding down by then.
Emmett is sure to make things a thousand times worse for the comedy and it will worry Esme endlessly.
"You are so fucking creepy!"
"Hey!" I say, really speaking up for the first time here. "I'm trying to remain neutral here—"
"Like Switzerland! Where Ness wants to go! That's funny."
I close my eyes, refraining from punching Alice in the eye. "But if you talk to your father like that you have no chance of ever going anywhere again," I say.
She gets impossibly redder and we all brace ourselves for more screaming, but she takes a deep breath.
And then five more.
"Dad," she says through a clenched jaw. "I'm sorry for the cursing, but we do have this deal where you pretend not to know what I'm thinking. It's the polite thing to do."
"I'm sorry, Nessie. I don't know anything about anything," says my darling husband.
"Apology accepted. I'm going to go shower off my mad and we can discuss this when we've both had time to calm down." And with that she turns on her heel and marches upstairs.
Everyone is still as stone until we hear the water go on above our heads.
Edward groans, disturbing the silence, and flops forward, crawling over the back of the couch to lie with his head in my lap. Alice scrambles back, looking mildly disgusted to have Edward's feet too close to her dainty little self.
"I'm going to kill Jacob Black," he mutters. I chuckle and push my hands through his hair. He sighs.
"No, you won't" I reply. "He's your friend."
"We were almost friendly," Edward corrects. "Before Vanessa…"
"Started looking like she looks now?" Alice supplies, making Edward cringe.
In the last decade Nessie's grown seven inches in height and lost all her awkward, gawky angles of youth. Her face thinned out, making her look like the feminine version of her father with those cheekbones of theirs.
It's freaky really. The general public probably thinks they are twins.
The changes to her face make her eyes more pronounced.
Jasper wanders in now that things have calmed. He touches the top of Alice's head and looks at Edward with equal parts amusement and pity.
"I thought we'd have three more years, you know?" he murmurs, making me really understand the reasons behind his complete freak out.
This is beyond the standard protective father routine. Edward missed so much of her childhood and now he doesn't want it to be over. He doesn't want to lose her.
"She's still going to be Nessie, Edward," I say. He opens his eyes, frowning up at me. "She's still yours. Ours. She's not going anywhere."
"That's true," Alice says. "I've seen it."
I give Alice a withering look.
"I'm not totally happy about it either," I continue. "But there isn't much we can do to slow it down and if we try she'll just resent us. That's the only way we'll lose her. If we freak out so much she doesn't want anything to do with us."
"I am so glad to just be an uncle in this moment," Jasper tells Alice who nods vigorously in response.
"She's only sixteen," says my husband, sitting up. His gaze changes rapidly from Alice to Jasper to me. "Do you really think we should let our sixteen year old go party it up with her friends and the guy that's been lusting after her since she was a baby?"
"Dude," Jasper groans.
I pull a face, disgusted by the thought.
"You know better than anyone that the lusting is a recent addition," Alice points out.
Now Edward is making the face. "Twenty years and he's still horrible at hiding his thoughts."
"Ness is teaching him the Russian alphabet," Jazz says. "Maybe that will help."
"And she's not sixteen," I say. "She's one hundred and sixteen. Human rules don't apply. Maybe physically she's sixteen and a half, but she's got all this experience. There are only a handful of beings that Ness can be with for the long haul. She tried the hybrid thing with Nahuel. That leaves vampires and werewolves."
"We don't know any vamps that are good enough for Ness!" Alice says, apparently horrified. "Jacob is way better than like, Riley!"
"How about no one," Edward mutters.
"You're wishing your daughter an eternity alone?" Jasper drawls.
"Riley or Jacob," Alice demands, poking my husband in the shoulder. "Riley or Jacob!"
Edward looks at me, silently begging me to decode the wacky behavior of our siblings.
"Jacob is her Edward," I say with a shrug. "It's weird to be a parent and admit that, but Jake is it for her. Jacob is her Edward."
His lip twitches as if he is going to snarl at me but then he drops his face to his hands. "Fuck, this is horrifying."
I rub his back consolingly
"She can go to fucking Switzerland," he mutters.
"Yeah, with a guard of at least fifty," I reply.
Three years later
I run, a blur of dark hair and pale skin through a world of green.
Twenty five years ago I could fly through this forest without even opening my eyes. I knew every rock and twig intimately, but all has shifted while I was away. Like all living things, my trees and ferns and mosses have grown and thrived and died while I remain constant, as I've been for decades and as I will be for decades and I as will be for decades more.
The smells are the same and I breathe in deep, reveling in the familiar scents of life and decay. The sharpness of pine and the sickly sweet tang of rotting leaves welcome me home.
I run, leaping and dodging fallen trees while making note of the looming sentinels that will stand for many years to come.
I follow new trails carved out by deer. Once I ran these moist dirt paths to feel cleansed, to wash it all away and forget. I ran to feel free.
Now there is only joy here and I smile, once more filling my dead lungs with the smells of the forest.
I reach the unchanging edge of a large cliff that slopes down into the river some five hundred feet below. My feet teeter on the edge before I scramble up the tallest tee to take in the panoramic view of epic peaks, jagged gorges, masses of green that run up to the ocean.
I love it here, my favorite place on this earth, and the little corner of the globe that is truly mine.
As I sit in the tree, watching the sun dip lower, Edward finds me.
Anywhere and everywhere feel like home with Edward here.
He doesn't speak as I lean forward on the branch, allowing him to sit behind me with his back against the trunk. Our legs dangle on either side. With a contented sigh I melt back into his chest.
"You've missed this," he observes.
"I wish we could stay."
"Give it another fifty years," I reply. "We'll be back."
The sun sets. Edward stirs behind me, and I know it's time to leave my woods, my tree.
"Kate and Garrett are here, asking for you," he murmurs.
I tense and nod again.
"It will be fine, Bella. They miss you."
"I know. They just look at me different." Since I almost turned them all to ash.
"Kate and Garrett?"
"Not them so much. It's the others. They all look at me different."
Edward kisses my temple. "They owe you everything and they know it. Most genuinely care about you and fuck the ones who don't."
I smile. "I know I'm being ridiculous. It's about Nessie anyway."
"Yes to the second. No to the first."
A laugh escapes my chest and I pull Edward out of the tree.
Garrett's eyes are a warm shade of honey and he hugs me tight when we get back to the main house in Forks. Kate gives me a similarly friendly greeting, but I stick close to Edward's side when she releases me. I'm not used to being around so many all at once and more will arrive in the next few days.
Already I feel the prickle in my shield with so many powerful creatures so close. So many, that I could easily suck dry, stealing what makes them powerful. The demon stirs and I loathe it.
I loathe it.
All I can do is shiver and hold onto Edward.
As more guests arrive I'm transported back in time twenty five years, but Nessie is here this time. Her glowing, radiant happiness keeps me grounded firmly in the present. Alice keeps us all busy, transforming the back yard into another world, full of white flowers and strings of white light.
My sister spends two days perfecting the altar and grumbles every time she needs to pop into town. No one in Forks can see us and Anna Uley becomes Alice's errand girl.
Or errand woman, I suppose.
Nessie's best friend is now thirty eight.
More vampires arrive.
The Irish arrive with Dmitri in tow. Last time I saw Maggie she told me that she'd never met a more honest creature than the quiet giant of a tracker. Felix arrives with Victoria of all people, creeping me out slightly. I can see a wariness in her eyes that makes me need to touch Edward. That look isn't present on the faces of the Amazonians, but Tia and Benjamin give me a wide berth.
Edward and I are the odd ones out in this eerily familiar gathering. For the last twenty give years all the vamps here have gathered frequently in Italy, all taking turns representing their various covens on the council.
I don't go to Italy.
I never go to Italy, but I've been told that my name alone is enough to terrify Volturi loyalists and law breakers into submission. Carlisle says our world is safer now than it's ever been due in part to my notoriety.
I'm the thing demons fear.
A small part of me revels in this knowledge, hoping it's enough to keep Vanessa forever safe.
Still it is odd to be considered monstrous by the monsters themselves.
The last time I was in the presence of all these creatures I was the one getting married. Or remarried. Or renewing my vows. Or whatever.
A year after the burning I wanted to give Edward a wedding. We'd just left Forks for this absurd manor house Carlisle's owned forever in the English countryside. I gave Edward the memory of marrying me in front of friends who risked everything for my daughter and would continue to do so, despite how they feared me. Edward's joy eclipsed it all and Alice even managed to get me into the dress I wore a hundred years earlier to make the same promises to the same man.
Nessie wanted to wear it but she's far too tall and the poor old garment really couldn't handle the alteration. I've seen her in the simple but exquisitely cut column of ivory she selected for her big day, but that hardly makes it feel real.
Nessie is getting married.
I have yet to truly process it.
"No one's killed each other yet," Nessie says, downing a goblet of wine. It takes a lot to intoxicate my daughter but the rosy cheeks tell me she's well on her way.
Still, she is so beautiful it almost hurts to look at her.
"That's good right?" she continues, turning to look at me.
I take stock of our backyard.
Alice successfully transformed it into a sort of fairy wonderland, combining wood and white everything – lights, ribbons, flowers, table settings – that perfectly suit the couple. Despite the beautiful environment the guests remain somewhat segregated.
"There will be no scuffles between wolves and vamps," I assure her. "I'll fry them if they dare."
Nessie snorts into her wine but then frowns when she realizes her glass is empty.
"You're beautiful," I tell her, pulling her into a hug. "And married."
"I'm beautiful and married!" she squeals.
Her joy is intoxicating and I let it wash over me.
Across the crowded – and similarly segregated – dance floor we watch Jake smoke cigars with Edward, Emmett, Jasper, and Carlisle.
"He's officially a Cullen now," I murmur. And that fact alone is pretty surreal.
"I never really thought it would happen," Ness confesses.
"Really?" I ask, genuinely surprised to hear this. "I always thought it would happen, just not so soon."
My 137 year old daughter rolls her eyes.
"Why didn't you think it would happen?" I ask.
"Well, you might not remember but I was a stubborn little shit in my youth," she says. I crack a smile, remembering that strange time before Nessie accepted Edward as her father. Funny, how twenty five years can make something so painful at the time, so amusing in the present. "I didn't like the whole imprinting, destiny thing."
"You and me both," I mutter.
"It's like how when you'd tell me to do something and that would make me want to do the opposite," Nessie explains. "The universe was telling me to be with Jake so I was determined to do the opposite."
"So you practiced kissing on the humans," I say, earning another eye roll. I keep my voice as quiet as possible to try to keep this conversation private.
"And you lost your virginity to Nahuel."
"Do not include that in your toast later, Mom. Jeeze, what is wrong with you, bringing that up?"
I laugh a little, a real, true laugh that only Nessie could draw out when I'm this uncomfortable.
So many powers that could so easily be mine. Benjamin, with all his fire, is so painfully close.
"So what changed?" I ask, both because I need the distraction and I'd really like to know.
"You and Dad and your ridiculously epic love," she says, snagging a fresh glass of champagne from a passing waiter's tray.
I raise an eyebrow, not getting the connection.
"I couldn't settle for a pleasant little life with Nahuel, seeing firsthand what the real thing is like."
If I could cry I'd be bawling like a baby.
"Wow, Nessie. I'm… touched."
And choked up. And somewhat speechless.
My daughter shrugs. "You make each other better. He woke you up, Mom, and I didn't even know you'd been sleeping," Nessie says, slinging an arm over my shoulders. We turn to look at our husbands.
Edward is smiling, looking pretty speechless himself.
"Jacob is my epic love," Ness whispers, smiling slightly. "And not being with him to give a big 'fuck you' to the universe wasn't hurting anyone but me. And, you know, Jake."
"You sound like such a grown up," I observe.
"Shut up!" Nessie says with a giggle, playfully bumping me with her hip.
"It's a good thing!" I reply, watching Edward and Jacob navigate the crowd. "I love you and I'm so damn proud of you."
"Me too" she says, tearing slightly as she kisses my cheek.
"Lovely ladies," Jacob says in way of greeting. "May we have this dance?"
Nessie stretches up to kiss her husband and for once the sight don't make Edward look like he's on the verge of vomiting. Our daughter ignores her new husband's out stretched hand, latching onto her father's arm instead.
"After the next song we'll switch!" she says, pulling Edward onto the dance floor. He grins at me over his shoulder before twirling Nessie around, making her squeal with delight.
Jacob bows to me and I take his offered hand. He can't really dance, not like Edward, but he has fun, hamming it up and making me smile but then his suddenly goofy smile makes me suspicious.
"What? Why are you looking at me like that?" I ask.
"Just thinking about how many times you broke my limbs and told me that this would never, ever, happen, over your dead body would it happen, he replies, grinning at me in that way that never fails to make me want to punch his face.
"Technically, everything that ever happens around here is over my dead body," I muse. "You are currently dancing with my dead body."
"You still have limbs to break," I remind him.
"You wouldn't hurt your own son, would you?"
"I'm going to start calling you Mom."
I stop dancing – if it can even be called that – to squeeze his hand. Even this slight increase in pressure makes him yelp like the puppy he is.
"Fine," he mutters as I force him to dance once more. "I'll just call you Mrs. Cullen. Shit. Or is it Mrs. Masen?"
"Both. Either. Whatever."
The Mrs. is the important part as far as I'm concerned. We switch between Cullen and Masen depending on our cover story.
We shuffle around in silence for a moment until Jacob's facial expression changes once more.
"But I am still your friend, right?" he asks, sounding so very young and unsure. "Like, your best friend maybe?"
"Edward is my best friend," I reply.
"Bella," He groans. I grin.
"But you continue to be pretty high up there on the list," I reply, making him relax and smile.
"Even though I stole away your little girl?" Jake asks.
"Especially because you married my little girl," I correct. Jake's speechlessness makes me smile. "The prospect of spending an eternity alone is truly horrible. I'm so happy you'll have each other to make it wonderful instead."
"Plus, I gave up on getting rid of you decades ago. But if you call me Mom again I'll have to end you."
Nessie leads Edward over then, dancing far more gracefully than her wolf of a husband. "So does this mean you're going to start calling my dad here father?" she asks.
Much to my delight, both men grimace as the song ends.
"I love you, Dad," Ness continues, stretching up to kiss his cheek. Seeing them together will never become commonplace, and I spend every moment being so thankful to have the pair of them.
Even if they look freakishly similar.
Jake wraps his arms around Nessie's waist, spinning her off her feet as she giggles. Seeing the two of them together will probably always be a little strange, at least for the next century or so.
Edward pulls me into his chest with a heavy sigh.
"I feel old," he mutters into my hair.
"But you look great!" I say. My husband returns my grin with only minimal eye rolling as we start to sway to the music. While Emmett and Rosalie do some crazy lifts, Edward and I barely move; our bodies close together. I crane my neck to see his eyes and he runs his hands all over my lower back.
"She's so happy," he murmurs, glancing over at the newlyweds.
"Yes," I agree. "Jake too."
"And me," he says. "I was unaware that this level of happiness was possible. That's your doing, love."
"Yeah?" I ask my smile shy.
He kisses me and for a few precious moments I forget that my demon is keenly aware of Benjamin's every move. I forget what it's like to have all that power.
"And you?" he asks, lips moving against my temple. "Are you happy?"
It's a difficult question. In the last twenty-five years everyone in my family seems to have really found the happy. Rose and Emmett travel constantly while Alice and Jasper seems to really enjoy their new positions with the council. Carlisle is doctoring. Esme is decorating. Nessie has Jake and Edward has a family.
I'm the wildcard on the happy front. I'm the damaged one who exists with the constant fear that the demon will escape the box, destroying everything I love, banishing every precious ounce of my humanity.
But there is nothing I'd change in the present or past.
Edward is here with me, back from the grave to find me again after a century. My daughter lives between worlds, striking a perfect balance between the human and the super natural. She's found her epic love.
Today my demon is restless, but tomorrow I'll fly off to Isle Esme, following my daughter south. She'll spend her honeymoon climbing mountains in Patagonia, thousands of miles away from the Brazilian island but I insist on being on the same continent at the very least.
I'll spend the next few months quieting the demon, letting the sun warm my skin and dining on dolphin, always a treat. Edward will make my body sing and remind me that I have a soul.
The years after that stretch endlessly, full of possibilities. We'll follow our daughter across the globe as she follows her bliss. And Edward will always be right here, loving me.
"Yes," I whisper, smiling up at him. The call of the demon gets that much easier to ignore. "I'm happy. The last twenty-five years, despite everything that went horribly, horribly wrong, I've been so very happy."
Eyes never leaving mine, Edward snags a glass of champagne from a passing tray, raising it in a toast we'll never actually drink.
"To the last twenty-five years," says my husband. "And the twenty before that you remember for the both of us. Here's to a thousand more."
"A thousand more," I echo, knowing it will be true.