A/N This is the last chapter, my friends. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the ending...and be sure to read the note at the bottom of the page! :o)
I opened my eyes slowly and discovered it was daylight. I was alone and I rolled over and buried my face in the pillow, catching the scent of Edward on the fabric. My husband. I grinned delightedly and childishly jerked my feet up and down, throwing the bottom of the comforter off and digging my toes into the mattress. I didn't think anything could happen that would make me more happy than I was at that moment.
I heard the toilet flush and then water running and the sound of Edward cleaning his teeth and I turned over again, my hand quickly sliding down to wrap around my morning wood. Our wedding night had been amazing. It was always amazing with him, but when we took our time and didn't rush everything, it was incredible.
When he returned to the bedroom a minute later he kneeled on the edge of the mattress and bent to kiss me, his riotous hair sticking out all over his head and his eyes sparkling.
I kissed him back briefly and then went to the bathroom to attend to my own needs. If only we didn't have to drive back to Seattle that day - if only we could have had a proper honeymoon somewhere. Still, we had a couple hours yet and I hurried back to the bedroom, finding Edward sprawling on top of the covers idly stroking himself. My erection had subsided with my struggle to pee, but at the sight of him it began to rise again at once and I lay down beside him, pulling him close to me.
Again we took our time, but we made love gently rather than pounding into each other as if our lives depended on it and when we were spent, we lay cuddling for another thirty minutes before reluctantly dragging ourselves into the shower and getting ready to leave.
We packed the suits, dressed in the spare clothes we had with us and ate the breakfast of stuffed bagels and juice which had been left outside our door some time earlier. Then it was time to check out and get on the road. Edward sat close to my side, his head resting against my shoulder as I drove, neither of us talking, but lost in thought. The smile didn't leave my face for the entire journey back to our apartment and each time I glanced at Edward, his lips were curved up into his customary crooked smile.
I wondered where we would go from here. Fate had brought us back together after it had so cruelly torn us apart and it seemed that it had finished playing its part in our lives for the time being. We had talked about the future and what we wanted out of it, but not in much detail as yet.
I knew I wanted to be a sports coach after I graduated, whether I worked in a school or for a football or hockey team, or even with groups of underprivileged kids or juvies. Edward wanted to be a history teacher in a school or college and we both knew that we intended to find a home in the Port Angeles area so that we could be close to our families. However, it was still two years before any of this would start to happen and I didn't want to wish my life away looking towards the future, when the present was so perfect. I intended to enjoy every minute along the way and I reminded myself to write in my journal and detail our wedding when we got back to the apartment. Mom had given me a photograph of us together which looked almost identical to that taken by Jasper so many years ago and I intended to stick it into the journal and keep both my own and Billy's safe together. They would be an incredible story for whoever found them in the future, when hopefully we would have passed on only due to old age.
"What are you thinking?" Edward asked, straightening up and stretching as we reached the suburbs of Seattle.
"Probably the same as you. Sappy stuff; how happy I am."
Edward smirked. "Yes, exactly the same."
Predictably the next day's classes were constantly interrupted by friends and classmates either teasing me or congratulating me. I rather expected some derogatory comments about the fact that I married a boy and with both of us so young, but nobody commented negatively and Edward reported later that he had only received pleasant remarks or curious ones. The majority of people didn't mention it after that first day, except for Blair complaining that where Candace had previously not been interested in getting married, now suddenly it seemed like a good idea to her. He was horrified and I could see troubles looming in their future because of it.
The remainder of the year passed in a flurry of study and exams and we spent the summer holidays staying mostly with the Cullens with numerous visits to my family and a week's camping trip in the middle, pitching the tent in the same place as the previous year. We ran into Steve and Suzannah one day, discovering they were still together and both were somewhat shocked that I had married Edward and I didn't miss the slight look of hurt on Suzannah's face. It puzzled me, but I didn't dwell on it. Perhaps she regretted breaking up with me, although I had thought she was happy with Steve, or maybe she wondered if I had always been gay and longing for something else when I was with her. I doubted I would ever find out; she was a brief part of my past and we had barely spoken to each other since I left for college.
We were halfway through our degrees by then and the third year was to involve a greater proportion of tutoring for both of us. Edward's courses would be around two-thirds history and one-third teaching, while mine were split in half between sports therapy and training combined and coaching. I sat in on a few of Edward's classes even though he no longer needed my support. If I was free and he was teaching, I went simply for the pleasure of sitting there listening to him lecture and I found I learned a lot of history that previously I wouldn't have thought interesting.
In turn, Edward came to as many of my football or hockey games as he could manage, dependent on his hours working in the museum. I frequently practised my massages on him too, although as much as I tried to be professional, the episodes invariably became sexual. I found it impossible to ignore the growing bulge in his shorts when I was aiming to treat an imaginary torn thigh muscle or similar with massage.
That year we both turned twenty-one and we used the summer holidays before our final college year to take a road trip. It was something we had been planning all year and now, finally, Edward could get behind the wheel of the Neptune on the road, rather than on the Cullens' long drive. We headed south and as soon as we emerged from under the Washington cloud cover, the top went down and we cruised with the wind in our hair, exploring the northern part of the States, staying in a different town each night until a month had passed and we had spent more money than I was comfortable with on gas and accommodation. Edward had insisted on paying for all the fuel, since it was his car, but the beast got terrible gas mileage and by the time we finally headed for home, I knew he had spent a fortune on it.
I still felt a little uncomfortable about Edward's bank balance, although I had eventually gotten more used to it. After his house sold and also the portfolio of stocks his father owned, I knew he had in excess of ten million and he would have struggled even to make a dent in the interest. Mostly it didn't bother me any more if he paid a larger share of things than I did, but my stupid pride was still getting in the way of the fact that next year he wanted to buy a house for us so that we wouldn't have to worry about a mortgage. It made sense and I shouldn't have cared - we were together and we were always going to be together so we shared everything, but when it came to finances I still felt in some way inadequate.
We began looking for houses over the Christmas holidays. It was only a few short months before our final exams would be over and we would leave our apartment in Seattle for the last time. We would of course live at the Cullens' house in the interim, but we were eager to find a place of our own as soon as possible. Port Angeles was the best option, it being large enough to support a number of schools, a college and several sports clubs that were possibilities for work and Edward had already applied for an upcoming position as a history professor at the college. The existing professor was due to retire at the end of the year and it seemed the perfect opportunity for Edward.
I had approached the college myself for any possible sports position, but there was nothing. Mom and Dad had suggested it was probably just as well that Edward and I didn't work together, thinking that living in each other's pockets twenty-four-seven wouldn't be good for us, but I would have been perfectly happy to spend every minute in his company for the rest of my life if it were possible and I knew he felt the same. However, it clearly wasn't going to happen and at Spring Break I talked to a football club, the highschool and two elementary schools and found two options available. The first was a sports therapist for the football club due to open up for the new season in the fall and the other, a general sports coach for one of the elementary schools. Teaching younger kids wasn't really something I had considered and I would have preferred to work with teenagers or perhaps the rougher, troubled kids I was used to, but I could always move on when I had a year or two's experience under my belt.
By the time we graduated, Edward had accepted the history professor's post and although I would have preferred to work with the football club, I lost out to an older, more experienced guy, but was lucky enough to be offered the position with the elementary school instead. Both of us had the start of our careers settled, but we had a few months' grace before we both began working in September and we used this time to actively look for houses. The market was poorer than we hoped with an abundance of rentals available, but very little for buyers with the exception of a few houses out of town which well exceeded the budget. Edward thought nothing of spending a million bucks on a house for our future, but the thought horrified me and in addition, they were all far too big for our needs and would have required a lot of work keeping on top of cleaning rooms we wouldn't use.
Eventually we decided there was nothing for it but to stay with the Cullens until more suitable properties became available. They were happy for us to live there as long as we wanted and we had plenty of privacy. Our working hours would be virtually the same when the schools opened and we could at least travel to PA together so that the hour-long drive each way didn't become boring. Both of us were required to begin the week before the students returned in order to prepare classes, plan training and so on, but we still had almost a month before the end of the holidays.
We decided to spend a week camping in the foothills of the Rockies as we had several times before and let ourselves forget about work and house-hunting and just enjoy each other. We had missed our usual camping expedition the previous summer due to the road trip and thought it would be the perfect way to end our lives as students before we began our careers and moved into the real world. We hadn't seen a great deal of my family this summer either and planned to spend a few days with them and give my sisters some attention before we took off into the mountains.
It was while we were staying at my old home that Mom suddenly drew our attention to an ad on the local news website; a house that had been listed for sale only that morning. It was on the edge of Port Angeles in the most pleasant part and had a distant view of the sea. It had a decent sized yard, creating a reasonable distance between itself and the next property and it had two bedrooms, two lounges and a garage. The price tag was six hundred thousand which was average for the type of property and the area and although it was still a lot of money, it didn't horrify me nearly as much as seven figures.
Edward called the agent immediately and that afternoon we went to view the house. We were the first couple to enquire, but as the agent showed us around, she received several text messages advising that others had made contact asking to see the property. I had no doubt that it would sell within days if we didn't go for it ourselves, but as we walked around, looking at the two spacious bedrooms, the extra lounge where Edward could keep his piano, the garage for his fancy car, the well-equipped kitchen and the luxurious bathroom with its deep tub and enormous walk-in shower, we knew it was perfect for us. We stood in the main bedroom looking out of the window at the distant ripple of grey sea, talking quietly while the agent waited downstairs.
"What do you think?" Edward asked.
It was obvious what he thought. His eyes were sparkling, his mouth struggling not to grin widely and I knew he loved the house. I did too and I could imagine us sleeping in this room, eating together at the bar in the kitchen, sharing the shower or the bath. It was as if it had been meant for us and I determinedly swallowed my pride over the money aspect.
"I love it," I said. "It's as if fate stuck it under our noses."
He beamed at me. "That's what I thought. So...?"
"If we go away and think about it, someone else will probably have it by the end of the afternoon," I reasoned. "Make an offer."
"Yeah, I need to stop worrying about it. If I was in your shoes I'd be insisting you get over yourself and let me buy it. Let's do it. Since the owners already moved out, we could be in here by the time we start work if they don't drag their feet with the paperwork."
"I'll use my father's old lawyer," Edward said. "He won't let them drag their feet. He doesn't deal with conveyancing himself, but his partner does."
We headed downstairs quickly to find the agent, who was on her phone making arrangements for someone else to look at the house. She asked the potential client to hold while she briefly spoke to us.
"We want to make an offer of the asking price," Edward told her and she nodded and spoke into the phone again.
"I'm so sorry, it seems the property is no longer available."
I grasped Edward's hand in mine and chewed on my lip to stop myself grinning stupidly as we waited for the agent to end her call and talk to us.
"I have authority from the owners to accept any offers of the full price," she smiled. "The house is yours."
That was all it took. We made an appointment to visit the agent's office the next day to go over the paperwork and later Edward called his lawyer and instructed him before speaking to his bank to forewarn them he would be transferring a large sum for a property purchase in the next few weeks. Once the meeting with the agent was done, everything would be handled by the lawyer and we could go off on our camping trip as planned and relax while our future awaited us on our return.
We quickly drove back to the Reservation, eager to tell my parents the news. Edward called Carlisle too on the journey home, telling him they would be rid of sooner than they expected and excitedly describing the house to him. I beamed continually as I drove; we had to be the luckiest couple in the world at that moment.
We had a home; we had each other; at last we had everything - just as fate intended.
A/N Once again, thank you to everyone who has read the story; I hope it was as enjoyable as its prequel. I can now tell you that the boys' story hasn't come to an end just yet. The 'United' series is a trilogy with Part 3 starting very shortly - summary below. I hope you'll stay with me through the final part of the journey. HL
ETERNALLY UNITED - Part 3 of the United trilogy
Jacob and Edward's careers are about to begin and a new home awaits them. Everything seems perfect until an event threatens to snatch away their hopes and dreams. Are they destined for heartbreak, or will fate step in again to give them their happy ending?