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Break in the Clouds


4 years later

Only fairy tales came with fairy-tale endings, but that didn't mean Edward and Bella weren't enjoying theirs.

Then again, this was hardly the end.

Like every other couple in the world, they fought and got mad at each other. Sometimes they even made the mistake of going to bed angry. But that didn't take away the fact that they stayed together and paid attention to the relationship they wanted to last for life. They loved each other, shared the same dreams, and worked hard to make them come true.

During Bella's pregnancy, they'd focused on leaving Kansas behind; they voiced their fears about having a child, embarking on a new life, and making sure to balance everything.

Both Edward and Bella had needed to find their independence before they could be ready for more. And the day did come. Once Edward's divorce was final, he was on the first flight to Virginia, where he moved into the B&B's staff house since Bella's aunt had offered him a job as a handyman on the property.

It was, oddly, a job he enjoyed a lot, and he still held that position to this day.

Meanwhile, Bella took on two jobs and moved into a studio apartment not far from the bed and breakfast. As a part-time receptionist at the B&B, she saw Edward daily, and they often ended up at her place for dinner in the evenings. Their desire never faded, and a few months later, when Bella was showing and Edward couldn't sleep properly not knowing Bella and the baby were okay, he packed his shit and moved into her apartment. It was also around the same time Bella realized subbing as an art teacher wasn't as fun as working at the B&B.

When baby Julia was born, Edward and Bella didn't move out of their tiny apartment until the they could afford the down payment on a small house.

They still lived there.

Well, not at this very moment, because they were somewhere in the Appalachians in West Virginia, and this was the first time they'd brought their bubbly daughter with them.

A couple times every year, Edward and Bella took a few days off to hike along the Appalachian Trail, which made them "section hikers." Bit by bit, they took on the over two-thousand-mile-long trail, then headed home, only to return where they'd left off a few months later or the following season, depending on the weather.

The first handful of times they'd gone hiking together, Bella had been skittish and always wondering what other hikers thought about her up in the mountains. But after witnessing how Edward's lust-filled eyes always drank her in, she began to relax and think about the only man's thoughts she really cared about.

Her weight issues didn't vanish just because she found a man she was happy with, but Edward did help her cope better. Yeah, she still struggled, and she still yo-yo'ed between sizes twelve and sixteen, but she had Edward who supported her and loved her regardless of her size.

Since Edward's parents remained back in Kansas, gossip sometimes reached them, and those seemed to be the days Bella got grumpy and indulged in too much fast food and snacks. Not that she cared about Carlisle remarrying, Lauren shacking up with someone much younger than she, or hearing about Jasper, who'd apparently resurfaced in the town where his kids lived, but it was a time and place she preferred not to hear about as it reminded her of days where she was too fucking weak for her own liking.

Edward helped her find focus those days, too. He told her patiently that she should stop being PMS-y and think about what she had now instead.

No problem there, because Bella really enjoyed life nowadays.

And it got extra good whenever they found time to explore the wilderness together, especially now when Julia was old enough to tag along.

Looking over her shoulder, Bella grinned at the sight of Edward helping their baby girl roll out her sleeping bag in the tent. Julia, who looked a lot like Bella, wore a huge grin, cheeks rosy from exertion, and pointed out to Daddy that the spot between him and Mommy was hers.

"Isn't it always?" Edward chuckled in response and unlatched the thin rope between them. With a daredevil like Julia, Edward and Bella never let her out of their sight, and there was always a rope attached between Edward's belt and a chain link in Julia's spring jacket. "All right, time for bed, sunshine. Gimme a kiss."

Julia giggled and popped a kiss on Edward's mouth, and then she was fast to run out of the tent and into Bella's waiting arms. "Night, Mommy!"

"Goodnight, sweetie." Bella smiled and watched as Julia ran the five or so feet back into the tent again. "Daddy and I will be out here, okay?"

"I know." The three-year-old liked to think she was a lot older than she really was. "You already tolded me." That said, she put in the earbuds to Edward's iPod so she could listen to her favorite music and fall asleep.

Edward joined Bella by the campfire once he'd secured the rope to one of the heavy backpacks. That oughta make sure Julia didn't wander off.

"I'm beat." He huffed a breath and sat down behind Bella, gathering her close between his legs. "I'm glad we could bring her this year, though." He snaked his arms around Bella's middle and rested his chin on her shoulder. "She seems to love it."

That was an understatement. "And now you don't have to pretend you don't miss her when we're gone," Bella teased. Maybe it was an exaggeration, but it was at least half-true. Whenever Edward and Bella went out on their own, he was always trying to come off as the strong, macho man, as opposed to the sweetheart daddy he'd become the day Julia was born.

He called her "sunshine," because though the skies were still cloudy at times, his two girls made everything better.

"I don't know what you're talking about," he murmured, and she could feel his smile against her neck. "You think we'll make it to Pennsylvania before we gotta go home?" He played absentmindedly with Bella's engagement ring, a symbol of their solid relationship.

They weren't gonna get married; it wasn't an institution they believed in anymore. Instead they were happily engaged and planned to be so for the rest of their lives. And hey, Bella was still a Cullen.

It had been a very mutual decision, as well as the engagement ring – or maybe promise ring was more accurate. And when it'd been decided, Edward hadn't wasted any time going and buying each of them a ring.

"Considering Julia's got endless energy, I think there's a good chance we'll make it." Bella sighed in contentment and leaned back against Edward's chest. "Damn, I could just fall asleep right here."

"No way, love," he growled playfully against her cheek. "As soon as Julia's snoring, there's a tree over there, and I could just . . ." He lowered his voice, "hold you up against it and fuck you stupid."

Well, Bella wasn't gonna say no to that.

The End

Written by CaraNo, beta'd by HollettLA, pre-read by Kitty Vuitton.