Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Sorry that took so long, I had the epilogue all done weeks ago, and despite being imminently pleased with what I had written, I decided it didn't end things as nicely as I wanted, so I ended up trashing the whole thing. Version 2.0 didn't come as easily as the first did, and for a while I went back and forth between the two, so finally, I decided to mix elements of the two together and behold... Version 3.0!
Yes, this is the end my friends. The REAL end.
I can't believe it either. I spent the last five minutes muttering, "It's finished" to myself before I posted it.
That being said...
It's been a hell of a journey. Sometimes so rough and bumpy I wanted to rip my hair out and scream, sometimes smooth and pleasant enough to make me laugh gleefully, but all together enjoyable.
And that's all because of you.
When I started this, I would have been happy to have five people reading it but now I have over 800 reviews and counting and more then 100,000 views. And for a girl who was convinced that only her family liked her writing, that means more than you'll ever know.
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to read my story and review, add to their favorites or follow me, and double thanks to the ones who took the time to review every chapter and the ones who left long detailed reviews that always made me smile, no matter how bad I felt. To all the conversations I've shared over the past year, and to everyone who indulged my long winded rambles, thank you again.
You truly were the light in my dreary little life. :)
Hope to see you on the next one!
I See Dead People has been nominated in the poll to find the Top Ten Favourite Fics completed in February!
Thank you so much to whoever nominated me! I'm proud that I'm one of the few Jasper/Bella fics on there and it would mean so much to me if you'd take a moment to pop over to www . twifanfictionrecs . com and vote!
'I'm getting married.'
It was at least the twentieth time today that thought went through her head and Bella wasn't sure if she was any closer to believing it was true. She tilted her left hand back and forth, allowing the modest emerald of the engagement ring on her finger to catch the light overhead and glint pleasantly, as if sending a Morse code that said, 'Yes, this is really happening', to the shy, weird little girl that was still hidden deep within her. The one that, for a very long time, thought she was destined to be alone forever.
But that wasn't true anymore. No, her destiny was just down the hall, probably fussing with his tie and going over his vows in his head.
She hummed the wedding march to herself as she continued the motion, giggling as the tune soon transformed into the happy birthday song. It had been her idea to get married on her birthday, as sort of a way to officially say goodbye to her old life and hello to her new one.
Peter thought it was just a cleverly lazy way to never forget their wedding anniversary.
She had stuck her tongue out and reminded him that, thanks to her vampirism, she'd never forget anything.
Suddenly the, I'm getting married, thought was swiftly overtaken by the more familiar, I'm really a vampire thought.
'You'd think after almost four months I'd be used to it,' she thought as she stopped tilting her hand and studied the pale, marble skin. But from time to time, she still had to remind herself that she wasn't human anymore – mainly because she really didn't feel that different.
The adjustment had been easier than she – or any of the other's – had thought. She'd had no trouble sticking to the animal diet – even wrinkling her nose in distaste the one time that she had accidentally scented human blood. She had gained control quite nicely over her newfound strength – only destroying one end table, a door and the couch in the process – and agility, quickly using both to completely own Peter and Emmett during a mock battle.
The battle she'd had with Jasper after everyone left had ended quite differently and allowed her to truly enjoy the strength and... stamina that came with being a vampire. She grinned widely as a pleasant shiver of remembrance racked her body.
'Peter hadn't been kidding about vampire sex,' she thought with a laugh. Her smile faded slightly as the walk down memory lane brought back the memories of her first few weeks after her turning.
'No,' she sighed. 'It certainly hadn't been all fun and games.'
The early change had unfortunately thrown several wrenches into the very careful plans Jasper had made surrounding her turning. There had still been three weeks left in her final year and her blissfully unaware dad was on his way back from California at that very moment, it hadn't been easy.
Obviously Charlie had been the hardest to deal with.
As tempted as she was to tell him everything, her vampires had been hesitant and Jasper had pointed out that him simply knowing their true nature could put him in danger. Not from anyone specifically, but there were some vampires out there who didn't appreciate the Cullen's – and by association his, Rose and Emmett's – method of mixing themselves in with the human populace.
Keep to your own kind was the motto of those types of vampires and humans had been hurt over things like this in the past. In the end, Bella simply couldn't take the chance.
So when he called her after he got home, she had put on her best 'sick' voice and launched into some long rambling – or as she convinced herself 'fever induced' – spiel about how contagious she was. It had been backed up with a nifty (and completely forged) note from 'Dr. Cullen' (Rose really had that ineligible doctor scrawl down pat) hand delivered by Jasper – who assured Charlie that they were all vaccinated. Added with Bella's scratchy, "You're the Sheriff dad, you can't possibly afford to get sick," and it had been enough to convince him to work out a plan with the school, where she would do all of her work – including her finals – at home. Well, Jasper's home.
It had been hard, lying to him for those three weeks and turning down every attempt he made to come visit her. If Bella had been capable of keeling over with stress and guilt by the end of it, she probably would have. Jasper had done the best he could to distract her, by putting her through what she – not so affectionately – called 'newborn boot camp', making sure she was really as stable as she repeatedly claimed she was.
Finally, at the end of those three weeks – and Jasper absolutely certain her thirst was under control – the day before her high school graduation, Bella – brown contacts firmly in place – saw her dad for the first time since her change.
People used to mock her for her pale skin – especially in sunny place like Phoenix – but at least now it would work in her favor. Before she had gone, Charlotte – an absolute genius with a makeup brush in her hand – had dusted her cheeks with a bit of makeup, just enough to give her a human-like glow. She had pulled her hair up into a sloppy bun to hide the new length – the darkened color she could do nothing about though, so if he asked, hair dye would be blamed – and put on her baggiest clothes to hide her new figure.
All in all, she thought she looked pretty convincing.
She wasn't so sure when she finally walked through the door though.
The thirst that had worried Jasper enough to accompany her was non-existent just like she'd said – and she shot him an 'I told you so look' as she smiled in relief – but Charlie had stared at her the minute she walked into the kitchen.
"What?" Bella asked, shifting uncomfortably and squeezing Jasper's hand tightly.
"You look... different," he replied gruffly, shifting his gaze from her head to her feet and back again.
"Do I?" she tittered nervously.
He grunted and his eyes darkened. She felt Jasper take a step back and knew that whatever he was feeling from him, it wasn't good.
"I'm gonna ask you this once," he said stiffly, "and you're going to tell me the truth."
Bella gulped and nodded.
"Are you pregnant?"
"What?!" she burst out, unsure if wanted to laugh hysterically or sob in relief.
"You heard me."
"No!" she managed before the laughter she'd been holding onto suddenly escaped. "Of all the things you could have asked..." She could understand why he'd make the connections, sudden sickness, baggy clothes, the united front her and Jasper presented when the walk through the door. 'Talk about misreading the signals though.' She chuckled again. 'God, I wish Nan had been here to see this,' she thought wistfully.
Once he had overcome his embarrassment at jumping to conclusions, she was able to misdirect him by asking for details about his trip. He had presented her with a new charm, a badge shape of all things, clearing his throat as he did so.
"For your bracelet," he explained as she fingered the small silver shape. "Found it in a small jewelry shop Iris insisted on going into. I wasn't sure if you'd want the constant reminder of your old dad hanging from your wrist but –"
"It's great," Bella insisted, unclasping her bracelet – which she was incredibly grateful had survived the whole mess – and clipping the charm to it. She reached out to give Charlie a quick hug, pulling back just in time to see the tail end of an unidentifiable emotion cross his face.
The rest of the night had been spent talking about his trip.
The next day was her graduation and, as if the fates were in her favor, there had been a thunder storm and the whole event had been moved inside. Bella had been grateful that the same obliviousness that people directed towards the Cullen's applied to her as well and her paler than usual skin was chalked up to her recent battle with illness.
Her diploma had been in her hands for barely two minutes before Jasper and Emmett were regaling Charlie with a trip they had planned – Bella included of course (Jasper had complete faith in her, but even she conceded that she still needed a bit more time to fully come to terms with her vampirism. especially after how stressful the last few weeks were) – if they had his permission.
He had smiled at her and nodded, reminding Jasper and Emmett that he planned to take his vacation in August and was holding them to their promise.
They would hold true to that, arriving at night during the last two days of Charlie's vacation. It hadn't been easy, not with the bright sunny days, but they had managed by always being the first ones out – basking in the shade of the largest trees and ridiculously floppy hats on their heads – and the last ones to leave. They had copped out of taking the boat on the river by Emmett's calm explanation of suffering from aquaphopia.
She would congratulate him later for, not only pronouncing it correctly, but managing to say it with a straight face.
Their last night there, all of them lounging and laughing around a crackling campfire, Jasper – with a stern faced Charlie who had suddenly gone silent in the background – had got down on bended knee and presented her with a beautiful ring. The hope and love in his eyes in that moment managed to outshine the sparkling emerald at the center of the intricate infinity knots.
"Marry me, Belle?" he whispered.
She had looked up long enough to see the small tilt of her father's lips and his almost unconscious nod of approval, before flinging herself in his arms with a loudly squealed, "Yes!"
"It's a nice day for a white wedding..."
Bella was pulled from her thoughts as the loudly sung lyrics drifted up through the partially cracked window. She eased off the bed and made her way towards the window, grinning as the singing continued. An unseasonably warm September breeze gently ruffled the silken fabric she wore as she glanced down towards the backyard.
The grin turned into a laugh as a singing Peter wrapped his arms around a preoccupied Charlotte and began grinding up against her.
"Get off me, you lug," she hissed, batting him away and running a hand down the pretty, dove grey dress she wore in attempt to smooth out the wrinkles Peter's attention had caused. "I gotta make sure everything's ready." Her eyes narrowed as they darted around the yard and Bella could tell she was fighting the urge to inject a little vampire speed into finishing up whatever last minute tasks she thought she had.
"Everything looks perfect, babe," he assured her.
Bella found herself nodding in agreement. It really did look perfect, better than perfect if it was possible.
The backyard had been transformed into something out of a fairy tale.
It was the early hours of twilight – Bella's favorite time –the sky a beautiful periwinkle color with a mere trace of the setting sun in the distant horizon and fairy lights and Chinese lanterns were strung from and around the trees that surrounded the area. The few white chairs that were set out were angled towards a conveniently placed tree that had one large branch jutting out from which another lantern hung, creating the perfect place to get married under – nature's own bridal arch.
Candles dotted the aisle between the chairs (safely ensconced in glass candle holders that were high enough to protect from any potential gust of wind) and those, added with the fairy lights and the lanterns cast the whole area in a warm glow.
She was thankful once again for the tail end of an almost unheard of Indian summer – in these parts at least – that made the air that should have been cool at this point almost balmy. Charlie had been curious, but not particularly bothered, by Bella's decision to have, not only a night wedding, but a night wedding outside, but he might have sang a different tune if he and Iris were forced to shiver outside while the others remained unaffected. It's not that she was against being married in a church (she really didn't care either way, she would have happily married Jasper in a dump) but knew that religion – for many different reasons – made her vampires uncomfortable.
Peter shrugged and danced over to the woman perched comfortably on one of the five chairs that were arranged on the lawn. "Feel like dancing, Iris?" Peter cajoled.
The blonde woman looked up in the direction of his voice. "I think dancing is supposed to happen after the wedding," she pointed out wryly.
Peter chuckled. "We're all about breaking tradition in this family."
The older woman hummed and held down the knee- length hem of the peach dress she wore when a breeze caught it. "Somehow, I don't doubt it."
Bella tilted her head curiously. In the last few months her father and Iris had grown closer – eventually getting to know Bella's second family in the process – and sometimes she said things that made Bella wonder if she knew more than she was letting on. Despite being a blind woman, Iris was very smart and perceptive.
As if sensing her thoughts, Peter looked up towards the window and gave a small, almost imperceptible shake of his head, his lips quirking in amusement as if to say: You're not thinking that again are you? He'd already made it clear that Iris just considered them to be a bit, well, odd.
Which really wasn't surprising.
They others had gotten to know her out of respect for Charlie, but for obvious reasons, kept her at a personal distance. She didn't seem to mind though, taking it all in stride with a casualness that solidified Bella's belief that she was perfect for her father. Even though they hadn't been together that long, Bella had the feeling that marriage was definitely on the horizon. She leaned her forehead against the glass as a sombre smile touched her lips. At least he'd have someone to take care of him.
She honestly didn't know what was going to happen after this. Jasper had told her that they had at least a good ten years before he would start to get suspicious that she wasn't aging, but after that... well, the Cullen's had moved around so much for a reason. She sighed sadly and pushed her hands against the glass as she began to remind herself of everything she had and would gain, not the things she'd lose. Her eyes once again were drawn to her engagement ring.
'He's worth it,' she thought with a small smile. 'He's worth everything.'
Her attention was drawn away from the window when she felt the fabric surrounding her legs shift and begin to rise. Looking down, she laughed when she saw the dark black head peek out, the pale butter cream fabric of her dress framing their head as golden eyes gazed up at her.
"Jett," she chastised playfully.
Jasper had told her once that his gift had manifested itself within hours of him waking up, so when, after the first few weeks, nothing extra made itself known, Bella had come to the conclusion that, like Rose, Emmett and Char, she simply didn't have one. She had been a bit disappointed in the beginning, feeling a touch inadequate next to her gifted mate (though she'd never tell him that) but had eventually shrugged it off telling herself that super strength, speed, and immortality were still pretty awesome.
It wasn't until exactly a month and a half after she'd been turned that her gift had announced its presence... in – like most of her life for the last eight years – a pretty unconventional way.
They had been at a small villa on the coast of Spain and Jasper had walked into the kitchen to see Bella chatting, quite happily, to the kindly old maid, Rita.
"Ah, Belle," Jasper had said hesitantly when she told him this, staring quizzically at the empty space beside her. "We don't have a maid."
She had been suitably freaked when she realized the fear that she'd had with Nan – about seeing other ghosts – had manifested itself. She didn't cope with it very well in the beginning, finally demanding to be brought home and locking herself in their bedroom. Even after a week of pleading and assurances that her gift wasn't that bad, Bella still refused to come out. She was ashamed to admit that for that first week, she had cursed out Nan, blaming her for inadvertently having a hand in this.
It wasn't until she felt a cool, sandy tongue licking at her face and opened her eyes to stare into a familiar, and much missed pair of golden eyes that she finally began to see her gift for the true, well, gift it was.
'It really wasn't as bad as it could have been,' Bella decided as she scratched behind Jett's ears.
She didn't see them all Sixth Sense style, with gaping wounds in their heads or slit marks on their arms, but how they were when they were alive. Nor did they flock to her and ask her do things for her, if fact most were pleasantly surprised at the realization that Bella could see and talk to them.
Most of them had died peacefully and were all quite aware of the fact that they were dead and simply weren't quite ready to move on for one reason or another. Usually they were watching over someone special, like Nan had done for her, or, in Rita's case, was waiting for her husband Eduardo to pass on so Heaven wouldn't be 'lonely'.
She'd really only seen a few since Rita, including – her lips curled into a fond smile – a grumpy old man named Ben during her time at the cabin.
She'd thought he was another camper at first, until the moment she had greeted him and he stared at her as if she had two heads. He had looked over his shoulder before turning to her in surprise and gruffly asking, "You talking to me?"
He had been even more shocked when the German Sheppard – that same silvery glow emanating from its fur – that sat faithfully by his side, came to Bella and nuzzled himself into her hand.
It had taken a good ten minutes to convince him that, yes, she could see him and that no, she wasn't dead – technically – before he finally let her engage him in a somewhat civil conversation.
"How is it you can see me?"
She shrugged uneasily. "It's kinda difficult to explain."
"You ain't human, are you?"
Bella tensed. "What do you mean?"
He chuckled and removed a pipe from the front of his worn fishing vest, and Bella watched as he stuck it between his lips.
She had never quite figured out why the ghosts had access to certain things. (One of the ghosts she had met – a young man who'd died in a car crash – still drove around in the pristine cherry convertible that had been totaled in the crash.) They didn't appear to have quite the freedom or range that Nan did, but she was beginning to suspect that whatever they had died with at the time – she would find out later that Ben, his trusty pipe in his vest pocket, had died of a sudden heart attack while out fishing under this very tree, trying to get over the recent death of his beloved dog, Sol – they were able to carry over with them in death.
A match was struck next before the sweet scent of cherry tobacco drifted in the air around them. "I'm a ghost, kid," he said as he puffed on the pipe. "I may not pay much attention to the people that are occasionally around me, but I can see the difference."
"I told you, I'm not a ghost," Bella replied stiffly.
"No, you're not," he agreed as he stared at her thoughtfully. "It's the damndest thing, but it's almost like you're straddling the fence." He pulled off his battered fishing hat and ran a hand through his salt and pepper hair. "You an angel? he asked after a few minutes. "Here to finally convince me it's time to take a trip to that place in the sky?"
Bella snorted. "Hardly."
He smirked and put the hat back on his head. "Good, cause you'd have your work cut out for you."
Her eyes drifted out over the lake and she smiled as she watched Sol frolic in the shallow water near the shore. "You ever regret not moving on?" she asked suddenly
"Me? Nah. Never married, no kids, the few friends I have are still alive and kicking. Ain't got nobody waiting for me on the other side of those pearly gates."
He shrugged. "Wouldn't even recognize 'em if I saw 'em. Raised in foster care till I was eighteen." He gazed affectionately at the dog that was shaking the water off his fur. "No, Sol is the only family I've ever had and this cabin," he added, jerking a quick nod backwards. "this lake, well, this is my heaven right here."
Bella smiled softly as she gave one last pat to Jett's head, allowing Ben's remembered words to soothe the worries she had about the future. It echoed almost exactly what she said to Jasper the night after her turning and she believed in her words as much now as she had then.
Bella lifted her head towards the door. "Come in," she called.
She grinned as Rose's head peeked around the partially opened door, her golden locks artfully styled into a fishtail braid and draped over her left shoulder, the tip of it just brushing the dipped collar of the pale lavender dress she wore. She pushed her way through the door, a bouquet clutched in one hand and a thin square box wrapped in sparkly jade paper in the other, and nudged it shut with the heel of her matching lavender heels.
Jett gave a playful yip at the sight of Rose and, with one last lick to Bella's cheek, streaked through Rose's partially spread legs and vanished right through the still closed door.
Rose, tracking the movement with her eyes, shook her head with a small laugh. "I don't think I'll ever get used to that," she muttered.
Bella chuckled as she stood.
This had been another angle to her gift, which had been brought about by the occasional discussion on why they had all been able to see Nan. Jasper seemed to be under the impression that the light that had appeared that night, and her being so close to the end, had something to do with the others seeing her as well, but Peter had a different theory. He had proposed that the venom from Edward had already entered Bella's system, enough to slowly begin the change, and that their ability to see Nan had been Bella's doing – a mere taste of the gift she'd eventually have.
Unfortunately this one was a bit harder to grasp. Jasper speculated it was more of an unconscious thing, and that it may require her to have an emotional bond to whatever ghost she was seeing, telling her that he was able to sense and manipulate his family's emotions easier than he could anyone else's.
Other than doing it with Jett – proving Jasper's point (and shocking the hell out of him and the others) in the process – she knew it was a side of her gift she wouldn't be able to use often if at all. She didn't know if she'd ever feel the emotional connection she'd had with her Nan with anyone else.
Rose turned back as Bella finished standing, the smile on her face softening. "You look beautiful," she said softly.
Bella smiled shyly. "All thanks to you."
Rose shook her head. "No, I just made the dress; you're the one the one that makes it beautiful."
Bella beamed at Rose and turned towards the full length mirror. Normally, she'd be shifting self-consciously at the compliment, but in the pale butter cream fabric, she couldn't deny how beautiful she felt. She had chosen the color specifically to match the dress Nan had been wearing the last time she saw her, so that, at least in a small way, she could feel as if Nan was there with her.
The style had been updated to something a little more modern and a tad more intricate but still had a romantic, old fashioned feel to it, thanks to the lace cap sleeves and the way it gathered in at her waist before cascading down to the floor into a lacy, but manageable, train of fabric behind her.
The neckline started at her shoulders, before sweeping down into a modest v shape, low enough that you could see the silver bell charms that dangled at the end of her necklace. It was the only jewellery she wore other than the bracelets around her ankle and wrist. She smiled slightly as she caught sight of the two newest charms – a small silver pumpkin and a heart shaped ruby (a birthday present from Peter and Char) – as she realized that now every member of her family was properly represented.
All that was left now was the veil, yet another gift from Rose. It was the same one she had worn when she married Emmett and she had given it to Bella so she could fulfill both the something old and something borrowed tradition. Because it was such small affair, Bella had forgone almost all of the normal wedding staples – wanting something simple instead – but because Rose had insisted – "For luck," she said – Bella had agreed.
The something new was her dress obviously and the something blue...
Well, only Jasper would see that.
'Reason number thirty five why it's great to be a vampire,' Bella thought as she reached for the veil. 'No more uncontrollable blushing.'
Rose set the bouquet and present on the dresser beside her and moved towards Bella. "Here let me," she murmured, taking it from her and moving behind Bella. Clipping the veil to the back of her head, she arranged the diaphanous fabric so that it cascaded over Bella's loose curls and down her back. She leaned forward and hooked her chin over Bella's bare shoulder. "Perfect," she proclaimed softly, wrapping her hands around Bella's waist and squeezing gently.
"Thank you," Rose continued in the same soft tone.
"For everything you've done for Jasper – for this family." She stepped around Bella, blocking her view in the mirror and reached up to gently touch her cheek. "For the first time in a long time, I'm actually looking forward to the future."
Venom misted Bella's eyes as a beautiful smile stretched her lips. "I love you, sis," she whispered.
Rose pulled her into a hug. "I love you too, Bells," she said, her voice breaking slightly on the reply.
After a long moment, they pulled back with a chuckle.
"Another perk of being a vamp," Rose quipped as she eyed Bella's face. "No tears to mess up Char's beautiful make-up job. Although," she added, leaning closer and studying Bella's colored contacts, "I'd try to control the teary moments, or those brown eyes will be gold before the end of the ceremony."
As Rose stepped out of the way moved towards the dresser, Bella leaned forward until her nose was almost touching the reflective surface of the mirror to ensure that her contacts hadn't started disintegrating. As much as she loved her ochre eyes, they would be damn near impossible to explain to her father. Especially when three other people had the exact same color.
Charlotte and Peter had been forced to join the fun as well. As accepting as people seemed to be of the strangeness that was gold eyes, red eyes – on any other day besides Halloween – sent their alarms through the roof. Charlotte had gamely stuck a pair of the darkest blue contacts she could get in her eyes, but Peter had to be talked – or in other words threatened by Jasper – out of telling Charlie he was an albino before he caved and agreed to wear them.
"They're fine," Rose insisted as Bella poked lightly at her eye. "I was just teasing you. Those babies are ram tough."
"Lemme guess," Bella said wryly. "A vampire made them?"
"Of course," Rose replied simply as if the answer was obvious.
Bella laughed and rolled her eyes.
"Now," Rose said, closing her hand around the brightly wrapped gift she had sat on the dresser earlier and jiggling it at Bella. "Happy birthday," she said, passing the gift to her.
Gingerly tearing open the wrapping paper, Bella coughed lightly in embarrassment when she saw its contents.
"From Char and Me," Rose said, grinning wickedly as Bella held up the scraps of silk and lace that comprised a very scandalous teddy. "For the wedding night." She waggled her eyebrows suggestively, looking very much like her mischievous mate in that moment. "Though," she continued cheekily, tapping her chin in mock thought, "this is probably more of a present for Jasper than you."
"Uh, thanks," Bella muttered, shoving the fabric back in the box as Rose laughed. "Is Emmett all set?" she asked, attempting to change the subject.
Rose grinned. "Are you kidding? He's been preparing himself for this for the last few days." She crept over to the door and cracked it open a bit, holding her finger to her mouth in a hushing motion. "Ssh.. listen."
Moving closer to the door, Bella could just make up the low squeak of Emmett's shoes as he paced the floor muttering to himself. The pacing stopped and she heard him say, "No, that doesn't sound right," followed by the scritch, scritch sound of a pen on paper.
She was proud at how seriously her normally goofy big brother was taking this. He had been surprisingly shy and humble when he asked for permission to officiate and Bella and Jasper had been all too happy to agree.
Rose closed the door, and leaned against it with a sigh. "He wouldn't even let me see what he's writing," she said with a pout.
"As long as it doesn't start with, 'there once was a man from Nantucket,' we're good."
Rose laughed. "Yeah, that's proof right there that Peter should never, ever be allowed to officiate a wedding."
"It was bad enough that he was in charge of Jasper's bachelor party."
"Oh, don't worry," Rose said with a solemn nod. "Emmett already assured me that there were only two naked strippers there."
"What?!" Bella snarled.
Rose snickered. "You are too easy."
"Don't tease the bride," Bella muttered sourly. She shifted uneasily on her feet. "How... how is Jasper anyways?"
"A bundle of nerves," Rose laughed. "I never thought I'd ever use the word giddy to describe Jas, but..." she trailed off with a shrug and a chuckle.
Bella breathed a sigh of relief, glad to hear that he was just as worked up as she was. Not that she had expected him not to jilt her at the altar or anything like that, but... well, Nan always used to say that she worried too much.
Rose rolled her eyes. "Please tell me you weren't just entertaining thoughts of him leaving you at the altar?"
Bella shifted her eyes away guiltily. "Umm... I plead the fifth?"
Rose sighed and shook her head. "I was a mess on my wedding day... considering what happened the last time I put on a wedding dress." She grimaced at the memory. "So, I'm gonna let that one slide." She made a move towards the bouquet. "And, just for the record, Jasper would have married you the second after he met you if he thought you'd agree to it."
Bella thought back to the first time she had officially met him, in the bookstore, and the mess of the emotions she'd had. "I might've needed a little convincing at that point," she replied with a laugh.
Rose's hand closed around the tightly wrapped stems. "I'm sorry we couldn't get the flowers you wanted," she said as she passed the bouquet to Bella.
"It's alright," Bella replied as she traced a finger along the pale petal of a lily.
She had hoped to have sunflowers in her arrangement, but neither the small flower shop in Forks, nor the three in Port Angeles carried them (one even snidely commenting that sunflowers weren't really a 'normal' request). Not wanting to make a big deal out of it, Bella had brushed off everyone's offers to track some down and settled for a simple arrangement of lilies, goldenrods and baby's breath and was quite satisfied with the final product. Besides, Nan had loved goldenrods almost as much as she loved sunflowers.
Bella's nostrils tingled with the comforting scent of sandalwood seconds before there was another knock at the door.
"Bella?" A gruff voice questioned hesitantly.
"Come in dad," Bella called out.
Charlie, looking incredibly handsome in a dark black suit, his peach tie a perfect match to Iris's ensemble, stepped through the door and promptly froze when he caught sight of Bella. "You..."
"I'll just give you two a minute," Rose said quietly, squeezing Charlie's upper arm as she passed by him and snapping him out of his stupor.
"Bella," he tried again, his voice slightly choked. "You look beautiful."
Bella smiled shyly. "Thanks, dad."
He cleared his throat in embarrassment and stuffed his hands in his pants pockets. "Nervous?" he asked.
Bella thought for a moment, assessing her feelings. "Surprisingly no."
"I was a bundle of nerves when Re –" Charlie trailed off, a dark look on his face. "I still can't believe she didn't come."
"It's okay," Bella assured him.
In all honesty, she had invited Renee simply because she felt like she had too. While she was heartbroken at the thought of eventually having to cut ties with her dad, she was rather indifferent when it came to Renee. She had been telling the truth when she told Jasper she remembered everything about her human life, but for some reason, the memories involving Renee were fuzzy, like she experienced them from the sidelines. She knew the indifference she felt towards Renee should bother her, but whenever she thought about it, it simply... didn't.
Renee hadn't even been the one to tell her that she wasn't coming; she had gotten poor Phil to stammer some excuse out over the phone. Bella had told him to tell her to, 'have a good life.'
"She's your mother," he insisted stubbornly. "She should have been here."
"Do you really want a repeat of last Thanksgiving?" Bella asked sarcastically.
His lips tilted upwards. "That was pretty bad, wasn't it?"
She nodded. "I have you here, dad. That's all I need."
The hard lines of his face softened and he crossed the room to pull her into a hug. "It feels like I just got you and now I'm losing you all over again," she heard him mumble into her hair. He pulled back and looked down at her solemnly. His eyes, so similar to the color hers had once been were misted with tears. "Will I ever see you again?"
Bella jerked back in shock. "Why wouldn't you?"
"Your old dad's not as oblivious as you'd like to think he is. I knew early on that Jasper, Emmett and Rose were different, but I never questioned it because they made you so happy." He inhaled deeply. "And now... you're like them, aren't you?"
She nodded slowly. She had asked Jasper a few weeks later what that emotion was her dad had been feeling after he hugged her.
"Loss," he had replied, a frown of confusion on his face.
So even then, he had known she was different. "I am," she whispered.
He exhaled shakily. "I'm not sure exactly what they are and I don't think I want to know. Just know that whatever you are, it doesn't change the fact that you're my daughter."
"Dad," Bella cried softly, feeling venom gather in her eyes. She buried her face into the smooth fabric of his jacket. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, though she was unsure exactly what she was apologizing for.
"It's alright, kiddo. Just call or write me from time to time, let me know you're alright. And if you can, come and see me. Or better yet, I'll come see you."
"Deal," she promised.
He placed a small kiss on her forehead. "You make sure that boy takes care of you."
"I will, dad." She sniffled before grinning slyly. "And you make sure to ask Iris to marry you."
He chuckled. "We'll see."
The moment was interrupted by a soft knock on the door before it was partially cracked open. "Everything's ready," came Rose's slightly muffled voice.
"Come on," he said, offering her his arm. "Let's get you to that boy before he thinks you ran off on him."
Bella laughed waterly and looped her arms through his.
As they stepped out onto the back porch and made their way towards the stairs that led into the backyard, a slightly retooled and softer version of the wedding march drifted up to Bella's ears. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Peter sitting just off to the side of the few guests, grinning widely as he strummed his guitar.
She spared Peter only a short glance before her eyes were drawn to the sight of Jasper, standing tall and proud – in a perfect replica of a suit straight out of his era – underneath the wedding arch and looking at her as if she was the only woman in the whole world. She felt him reach out to her through the bond and was almost brought to her knees by the amount of love he directed towards her. She did her best to reflect it back and when the smile on his face grew, she knew she had succeeded.
Her attention was drawn away when Charlie suddenly whispered, "What's that?"
She tore her eyes away from Jasper and followed her gaze towards where he was motioning. She gasped softly when she finally saw it.
On the top step, glowing softly in the dim light was a single sunflower – its yellow petals more vibrant than she had ever seen before.
"A sunflower?" she heard Charlie mutter curiously as she knelt to pick it up. "Where did that come from? Aren't they out of season?"
"Nan," Bella breathed as she wrapped her pale fingers around the stem.
"What was that?"
"They were Nan's favorite," Bella explained as she nestled the sunflower into the center of the bouquet and rose to her feet.
"Oh?" Charlie replied, the corner of his lips quirking in amusement. "Well, maybe it's her way of saying she approves."
Bella looked up at the periwinkle sky and smiled. "You know," she said as she tucked her arm back into her father's elbow and began walking towards her future. "I think you might be right."
A/N2: I struggled, oh lord did I struggle with what kind of gift I was going to give Bella.
I had a feeling that in the back of more than a few people's minds this would be the logical choice - and I have a couple of reviews to prove it - but I kept flashing back to how mentally disturbed that kid was in The Sixth Sense. But after I had Jasper wonder if Nan was somehow blocking his and possibly everyone else's gifts, I finally decided that she was, rather then the fact that Bella was a mental shield - again, there was no explanation to that whatsoever in the series. I suppose I could have still incorporated the shield in there somewhere, but I wanted to stay away from I-got-a-hundredgazillion-powers Bella which, for the record, I loathe.
The more I thought about making the title make even more sense - yes, sigh, I am still hung up on that - the more I kind of liked the thought of her seeing ghosts... So, I wrote the scene with Ben to test it out and ended up loving it. Then I was like, wait a tic... I can bring Jett back! Sold!
So I expanded on it a tad while still keeping within reasonable boundaries, I think and trying to make sure that people realized that, The Sixth Sense may have inspired my title, but the ghosts (and Bella) are absolutely, positively nothing like it. I hope I managed that.
It probably feels like I'm leaving this story open to explore her gift in a future one-shot or something, but I'm not. When it comes to this version of Bella, that is officially all she wrote.
Thank you again for reading!