Chapter 21: Forever
With no sleep and a thunderstorm quick on its way, dawn had finally broken over the Rocky Mountains. Alice and I had stayed frozen and glued to one another for hours. We didn't speak: there wasn't anything to say.
Then, the kids started to wake up. I was over tending to the fresh fire ,starting a pot of coffee.
"Where's Edward?" Seth asked.
"Yeah, and Dad," Garrett added. Alice and I exchanged worried glances.
"They'll be back soon. You know, they just got an early start..." Alice tried. The boys frowned. Jules came out of the tent, now. She was in the middle of braiding her hair. Before she could ask about her father's whereabouts, we heard footsteps.
"Morning, Daddy!" Jules called out. My head snapped to the left. Sure enough, Edward and Jasper were walking towards us, and they were smiling.
I couldn't contain my relief. I shot off the ground and ran to Edward. He grinned, showing his teeth, and opened his arms to me. Tears were streaming down my face when he caught me in his arms. I hugged him tightly.
"Thank God," I choked into his neck. Edward chuckled. I could hear the deep sound in his throat. It warmed me all over. He set me back on the ground and I held him at arm's length to examine.
He looked the same as he did when he left. Not a scratch nor bruise marked his perfect body, so I smiled.
"What happened?" I asked.
"Oh, he won't be bothering us again," Jasper said, after he pulled apart from his wife. I sighed happily. Edward nodded in confirmation to his brother in-law's statement.
"So all is well," Alice cooed. Jasper kissed her forehead.
"All is well with what?" Jules asked confused.
"The cows, of course!" Edward cheered happily. He nearly skipped over to his daughter, kissed the top of her head, and then ruffled my son's hair. Seth laughed and punched his shoulder.
"Oh. Well, good," Jules said. She finally shrugged, letting it go. We were all back together as a whole.
We sold the cattle later that afternoon. It was the happiest day this ranch had seen in a long time. We made more than enough money to support another round of cattle, and to satisfy the bank. We would go to Telluride tomorrow and pay our debts.
The land felt strange without cows. It was quiet and dark by half past nine. Edward and I had decided to sleep separate, both still exhausted with no sleep the previous night.
Even though we had endured so much already, and that I was incredibly tired, I was still the happiest I had ever been.
Telluride was bright and sunny when we arrived. We brought the kids with us and while we stopped off at the bank, they headed over to a local, clothing store. I was nervous, but as soon as Emmett appeared at his office door and called my name, that fell away. Edward took my hand and we went in together.
"So, it's all set," Emmett announced from behind his oak desk.
"Really?" I asked, surprised.
"You paid your dues, and can from here on out, as long as you keep up the cattle business." Edward's hand squeezed mine.
"Thank you," I gushed.
"My pleasure ma'am." All three of us stood up and took turns shaking hands. Just before exiting his small office, Emmett stopped me.
I turned, "Yes?" Emmett cleared his throat.
"Um, that woman you were seen with a couple weeks ago or something... The blonde," He coughed, and then his cheeks went red. I giggled.
"Rosalie Hale, my best friend. I'll be sure and introduce the two of you. She'll be visiting again soon," I assured. Emmett grinned and tipped his hat to me.
"I'd be much obliged ma'am."
"My pleasure," I replied.
I sent Edward off to fetch the kids as I dialed Rosalie's number and took a seat at a bench outside the bank. The building was old and brick, but you could smell fresh paper sitting in front of it.
"Bella!" Rosalie screamed excitedly.
"Rose," I cooed. "God, I have so much to tell you."
"Save it! I'm coming out there soon."
I gasped, "Seriously?"
"Mhmm! I haven't accepted any cases in over a week, so that I can stay a while."
"That's so wonderful! Seth will be so excited."
"Jacob came," I blurted. Rose didn't answer, but I swear I could hear her fuming over the line. "He left though. He didn't hurt us, and he won't be back."
She sighed, relieved. "Thank you, Jesus!" I giggled.
"No! Save it! I'll be there in a few days," She exclaimed.
"Okay, okay. I have someone for you to meet, anyway."
"Oh?" She asked. Her voice went up an octave.
"A cowboy," I purred, as Rosalie squealed.
"Three days! I'll see you in three days," She confirmed again.
I never would have pictured my life where it is now. After living through abuse, neglect, and fear for so long, I was ready to accept my newfound happiness. I wanted nothing more, and nothing less, and that was odd, since at one time I had wanted the world. I glanced over to Edward next to me as we walked down the street of Telluride hand in hand with three goofy kids in front of us. It was then that I realized, I already had the world.
I squeezed Edward's hand, then looked up to Seth. He was the one that saved me in the end, and actually through it all. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't have lived as long as I have. Jacob had played his part, and now that he was gone, it was as if he had never existed. The old me was in the past, where she would stay forever as a person separate from who I am today.
Now that the ranch had been taken care of, we had so many plans for it. Edward talked about our future as a family, and the land was a part of that family, too.
Stone Meadow brought us together, and would keep us together forever.
Yay! HEA! I can't thank you all enough for the love on this little story.
And a huge thank you to Sunflower for her Beta work! She's great.
Now that this story is over, I suggest jumping over to read my new WIP, Shattered Hearts! It is up for fic of the week at The Lemonade Stand!
Also, find our group on Facebook, Stories by Greye Granger, for teasers, pictures, and news regarding new things in the works :)
I'm so very happy that I got to share this with you. If you're interested in a futuretake, or maybe an epilogue (EPOV?) I would add this to your alerts! Like Imperfectly Matched, it's a definite possibility to see something like that for this story, too, even though for now, I will list it as complete! Again, thanks for the love.