A/N: Alas. Here we come at the end. I know. I know. But let's see how the kids are doing, eh?
~Five Years Later~
"Why is this so important to you?" Bella asked, exasperated. "It's a college graduation."
"Your last college graduation," Edward said.
"You don't know that. I might go back to school forever." She crossed her arms. "What's so great about walking across a stage to receive a piece of paper I already earned? No one can take it away from me. It would just turn into a media frenzy."
"Fuck them. I've told you a million times I don't want you to miss out on things you don't have to miss out on just because some asshole will be waiting to take your picture. A lot of people will be taking pictures."
"It's not that big of a deal to me."
"Well, maybe it's a big deal to me. And what about your dad?"
Bella's back stiffened. She turned to glare at Edward.
When the tabloids started digging into her background, trying to find whatever fucked up stories they could, they had discovered Bella's surname didn't match her mother's. It was a long, convoluted process, but Bella's long lost father surfaced. He was a cop named, as her mother had promised, Charlie Swan, who had lived his entire life in a tiny town four hours away from where Bella grew up. He was a good man, thrilled to have a daughter but way out of his element. "That's not fair."
"You know he'd love to see you walk the stage."
"So would every other person's dad. My classmates will resent me for overshadowing their achievements. It's happened before. All eyes will be on me and you. It's not fair to them."
Edward opened his mouth and quickly shut it again. "You're right."
He looked so genuinely disappointed, Bella felt bad. She sat beside him and pulled his head down to her shoulder. He sighed as he wrapped his arm around her. "I don't understand. Why is this so important to you?" she asked, threading her fingers through his hair. "You're usually so careful any place there'll be cameras, and you want to walk into that one?"
"You're always there for me. Every premiere, every award show. There's a picture of you in the audience or by my side looking so proud. I want to be the one in the audience for once, Bella. I want to celebrate you. I want the world to know how talented and amazing you are."
She tilted his head up to look at her. "You want the world to see you as the supportive boyfriend."
He winced. "You always see through me, don't you? I'm not as impervious to all the hoopla about our lives as I'd like to think. If we have to live so in the spotlight, sometimes I wish there was just one picture out there that proves I'm supportive of you. I'm proud of you. It would be nice if people saw that, I think."
"You take good care of me. You know that, right? Everyone who matters knows that."
He closed his eyes and nudged her cheek with the tip of his nose. "Yes. I know. I'm sorry. You're right. It's not important. We'll celebrate with the family. Maybe Garrett."
"That sounds nice. Simple. I like simple."
He scoffed. "I guess that means you must not like me as much as you claim to."
"You're lucky I love you."
"That I am."
"You're impossible. You just can't help yourself, can you?"
Edward studied Bella's face to gauge how much trouble he was in. "It's a compromise. You finished a Bachelor and a Master's degrees in five years. You deserve to be recognized. And your fellow students deserve to not have us overshadow their achievements."
"So you rented our own auditorium," Bella finished.
"Of course I did."
"You didn't rent the Dean, did you?"
"What? I didn't, but that doesn't mean you won't get a guy acting like a Dean."
"You paid someone to act like a Dean?"
"I know actors and screenwriters. Ones who like you. I didn't even have to pay them." He laughed when Bella banged her head on his shoulder. "Garrett is going to perform a combination of Steve Jobs and John Green's graduation speeches. It was his idea. Really." He kissed her forehead. "I can't help that everyone loves you." He cupped her face so he could kiss her properly. "And no one loves you more than I do."
"I believe you."
The party afterward was filled with friends and family. Edward retreated to get Bella a new drink when Garrett caught up with him. "I was thinking of becoming one of the tabloids anonymous sources in the Cullen camp."
"I see. What are you going to tell them?"
"I'm going to set the record straight. You did this for good reasons. They're going to spin it, you know. They're going to make it seem like you and/or Bella were too good to play with the normal kids."
"Fuck the tabloids. I don't care why they think I did this."
Garrett gave him a sad smile. "Do you think there will ever be a point when we actually don't care at all what the public thinks and says about us?"
"Probably not. At least they've stopped calling me a predator and Bella a twit. They've moved on to bugging me about how old I am. When are we going to get married, have kids." He shook his head. "It's like my mother, except far more annoying."
"Tick tock and all that. You don't want to be an old geezer dad."
"I'm going to be forty-one in a few days. That's not ancient. That's if we decide to have kids."
Garrett held his hands up in a placating motion. "Hey, man. I'm most definitely not your mother. Have babies. Don't have babies. I'm not changing any diapers anyway."
"Who's having a baby? God help me, Edward, if Bella is pregnant, I'm kicking your… Uh. Yeah." Rosalie came up to them with her three-year-old grandson, Peter, at her hip. She spared a rueful glance at him before she glared up at Edward. "So?"
"No one's pregnant, Rose." Edward smiled at Peter and held his arms out. The boy scrambled for him. "Why? So what if she was?"
Rosalie's glare softened, and she reached over to ruffle Peter's hair. "Ah, what the heck do I know, anyway? You and Bella have made it this far, after all. She loves it down here in California. She's made her peace with the photographers getting in your business. She finished school. Twice. My daughter didn't. My daughter had a baby when she was still eighteen. Despite the fact I was sure it was going to end horribly, it didn't. Alice and Jasper are still together, in love, and they're good parents. I almost ruined my relationship with both my girls, and they're both doing just fine." She bumped his arm. "So I guess I'd be fine with it. It might be fun to see Renee react to being a grandma."
"What are we talking about? And where's my drink?" Bella came to join them.
Edward grinned and handed her the jack and coke he'd gotten before he was distracted. Once she took the drink, he took her hand. "Rosalie was giving us permission to procreate."
"Am I pregnant again? I've lost count of how many times I've been pregnant."
"Who's pregnant? Are you pregnant?" Emmett joined the party. "You shouldn't be drinking if you're pregnant. Here. I'll help." He snatched her drink from her hands and drained it in a few gulps.
"I am not pregnant."
"Who's pregnant. You're not pregnant. Are you pregnant?" Renee came over with a lost looking Charlie trailing her.
"No. Argh." Bella looked at Edward. "You see this? This is how rumors get started. Everyone is an anonymous source."
"I say we get snapped walking into a swanky baby store."
She grabbed him by the edges of his jacket and pulled him to her. "Don't give up your day job, Cullen. You'd make a lousy tabloid writer, but you're a mostly decent actor."
"Mostly decent?" He wrapped his arms around her and tilted his head close to hers. "I have an Oscar, you know."
"I know. You thanked me, remember?"
"You made me take the part."
"You were amazing."
"Because of you."
Someone cleared their throat, and Edward looked over to find his brother staring at them with his arms crossed. "We're all still here. We haven't left."
Edward smirked and kissed Bella anyway.
A/N: So many thanks to Barburella and jessypt, and all of your for surviving yet another of my stories. I want to add one more chapter to make it an even thirty. What do you guys think? Futuretake? Or is there something from their past you want to see?