As always, the original authors, Stephenie Meyer and David Baldacci, own the rights to all characters and anything else associated with Twilight or The Christmas Train. I'm just having fun with them and wishing I was taking that cross-country trip!
Also, this chapter is not beta'd, but all my love and thanks still go to Dooba and Chris who gave me feedback on this story.
Hello everyone. Merry Christmas! Thank you again for all the lovely support for this little story. It means the world to me. I hope everyone finds their own Christmas miracle this year through 2013, and that all your dearest wishes come true. Be happy and safe. This is a short epilogue, but still I hope you enjoy.
Epilogue: One year later
Laughing, Edward grabbed Bella's hand as they ran for the train.
"Would you believe I almost missed the train last year too?" he said. "Just imagine all that would have gone wrong if I had."
"Alice would have killed you."
"No kidding. And your Dad and Harry too. They'd have taken turns."
"Knowing your sister, she'd have come up with an alternative."
Panting from the run, Edward and Bella reached the train.
"Hello, Edward and Bella," Emily stood smiling to welcome them. "It's good to see you both again."
"It's good to see you again," Edward answered, reaching to give Emily a hug. "Is Sam here too?"
"Of course. He's hoping you'll be jamming with him again this year."
"I'm planning on it. I told Bella on the way to the station that I hoped you'd both still be on this train."
"Are you two going to make this an annual tradition?"
Bella laughed and shook her head.
"I don't think so, though it is kinda tempting. We spent the last year here in Chicago, and we're celebrating our anniversary by taking this trip back to Seattle. We're finally moving there permanently."
"I thought you were moving last year, Edward," Emily said, "to work in your dad's practice?"
"That was the original plan. But Bella and I talked about it, and we decided we needed time just for us, away from the family and the expectations of everyone else. So, we gave ourselves the first year."
"Not that we've had much of a chance to miss the family," Bella added. "They've been out here or we've been there a number of times. But it's been good. Now we're ready to settle in Seattle and be part of that crazy wonderful group."
"I loved your book about the train trip," Emily said. "You made us all proud. I can't wait to see Harry's documentary when it comes out."
There was a sound on the stairs. Looking over her shoulder, Emily began to chuckle.
"Well, Edward, here's a friend of yours," she said.
"Well, if it isn't Mrs. Cope."
"Hello, Sonny Boy," the old lady cried. "Bad pennies keep turning up, don't they?"
"Now now, Mrs. Cope, you know you love me."
Edward walked to the stairs, reaching out to take her hand and help her down the stairs. Once she was at the bottom, he swept her into a hug and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"It wouldn't be a ride on the Christmas Train for me if you weren't here, ma'am," he said.
"You're in a much better mood than you were the last time," she replied. "Your lovely lady obviously keeps you in line."
"I certainly do, Mrs. Cope."
Bella kissed the old woman's cheek.
"It's good to see you again, Deary," Mrs. Cope said. "And now, Sonny Boy, if you'd quit hogging Emily, I'd like to speak with her."
"Hang on," Emily said, "let me look up your berth. Cullen, Cullen—ah, here it is. I see you requested the same one you had last year."
Taking Bella's hand, Edward smiled at Emily and Mrs. Cope and turned to head to their compartment. As they started to climb the stairs, Edward looked back to see Emily giggling. She gave him a wink and then returned her attention to Mrs. Cope.
"What was that all about, I wonder?"
"Who knows?" Bella said.
As Edward led his Bella to their compartment, he reflected back on where he was a year before. He'd boarded the train, committed to making what he thought would be his sister's wedding the very best it could be. But his heart was dead. He'd been grumpy and certainly not in the Christmas or wedding spirit. Still struggling to understand what had gone wrong between himself and Bella, he hadn't been a pleasant person to be around, not even to himself. He'd had no idea that within a few hours of starting the trip, everything would change, and he'd be given the Christmas miracle he'd scoffed at believing could ever happen for him. Stopping at their door, he turned to take Bella in his arms and kissed her passionately.
"What's that for?" she asked breathlessly when they broke apart.
"Just a thank you for saving me. I was going down a bad road into bitterness last year. I don't know where I'd have been if you hadn't burst back into my life."
Standing on tiptoes, Bella draped her arms around his neck and pressed her cheek to his.
"We were both heading that way," she said, "but now we're together and nothing could be better."
They began to kiss, still not in their compartment. Suddenly, a booming voice rang out behind them.
"Hey, get a room little Bro! Enough is enough."
Whirling around, Edward and Bella stared at Emmett.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Edward asked.
"Now now, is that any way to greet your favorite brother?"
There was a giggle, and looking around Edward saw his entire family crowding the corridor. Behind them stood Charlie Swan.
"Oh lord, you all came!"
"You didn't think we'd let you celebrate alone, did you?" Alice asked.
Rolling his eyes, Edward went to hug his family, as Bella ran to her father.
"We're really happy to see all of you," Bella said. "Aren't we, Edward?"
"Sure we are."
"Yeah, right," Emmett said. "I bet you're wondering what would happen if you tossed us all right off the damn train."
"Starting with you," Jasper said.
"You know what," he said. "This isn't exactly the way I planned this anniversary trip, but I'm actually a tiny bit glad to see all of you."
"That's good to know," she said.
"I'm gonna go down and get a beer," Charlie said.
"We'll be down soon," Bella said.
"Yeah, after Edward has a little private time with her," Emmett teased.
"Emmett, leave them alone," Carlisle told him. Turning to everyone he continued. "Come on, let's give Edward and Bella some privacy. After all, we just sprung this on them. I'm sure we have just ruined all their plans."
"We'll meet you all in the club car in an hour," Edward said.
Carlisle began to usher the others away, and Edward hurried into the compartment he shared with Bella and shut the door quickly behind them.
Falling onto the bed, Bella started laughing.
"Only our family would do something like this," she said.
Edward lay down beside her, pulling her against him and nuzzling her neck.
"You are so right about that, Mrs. Cullen. Do you think we could get away with ignoring them for the whole trip?"
"Hmmm. Well, maybe not for the whole trip, but we could possibly ignore them for a little while longer today."
"What do you have in mind?"
"Just you wait and see."
With slow, dragged out movement, Bella began to unbutton Edward's shirt. For a few minutes, Edward lay back and let her take the lead, but the slow deliberate pace was excruciating.
"The hell with this slow stuff," he said, flipping her over and hovering above her, "I want you now. I've got to be inside you. Do you want that, my Bella?"
"Let the world wait."
They came together in a frantic passion-filled tangle of arms and legs, bodies joined, lips joined, words murmured, ecstasy surrounding and filling them.
Later, as Bella dozed with her head on his naked chest, Edward softly stroked her hair, marveling at his personal Christmas miracle. Sometimes, he still could hardly believe that Bella was back and that they were married, happily married and had been for a year. After waiting so very long for her, there was absolutely nothing more Edward wanted in life. Maybe some children down the road, but other than that, with Bella by his side, his world was complete.
Bella moved, snuggling closer.
"Love you, Edward," she murmured, still sleeping.
"I love you too, Bella," he whispered. "Happy Christmas my love."
There was a pounding on the door.
"Come on you two!"
"Go away, Emmett," Edward and Bella said together.
Laughing, they got up and dressed.
"Guess we'd better head down there, or he might just break down the door," Edward said.
As they left the compartment hand in hand, Bella smiled up at Edward.
"Happy Christmas to you too," she said.
"I heard you when I was waking up just now. So, happy Christmas too."
"Oh, it's happy all right. Each one will only get better, now that I have you."
"That's good to know."
They stopped to kiss briefly and then Edward led her to join their family. They were on their way home, beginning the next part of their lives, and Edward could hardly wait to begin.
Again, Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2013 to all. Thanks for the support and reviews. See you all next year!