Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, but I'm grateful to Stephenie Meyer for her dream/vision. Please don't steal my original work.
Epilogue – 10 years later
The past ten years brought many changes for Bella and me as we began our life together. I liked to bestow many kisses and other displays of affection on her any moment we were alone.
Bella listened carefully to my explanations about running a general store, supply and demand, profit and loss, etc. She then contributed some of her own ideas. She spruced up some of the displays for the fabric and notions section, adding some completed quilting projects and quilt patterns. We seemed to be getting more sales in that department, so I was glad she could assist me.
True to my word, the March after we were wed, I took my bride on our promised honeymoon trip to San Francisco. Marcus and Aro were excited to be watching over the store. Their wives would assist if needed, along with Emmett and Rose as well. The store was definitely in good hands and we could leave with a clear conscience.
As soon as we boarded the train and settled into our seats for the journey toward the Pacific Ocean, Bella said, "I feel like such a rustic. All these women are dressed in stylish clothing!"
I gave the other women in our passenger car a cursory glance, then looked at my beautiful bride and said, "If you'd like, love, I'll buy you some new clothes in San Francisco." Then my lips went to hers; and then they moved down her neck and back up to her earlobe.
"Edward!" she hissed quietly at me.
"Yes?" I asked, pulling away with a huge smile on my face.
"Not here!" she exclaimed quietly, so as not to draw attention.
I smiled smugly and folded her hand in mine as the train began chugging onward toward our destination. "It did get you to stop thinking about dresses for a moment, though, didn't it?" I asked. She blushed and a mirroring smile spread across her face.
We spent the majority of our trip with our hands clasped and pointing out various items of interest we passed along the way. At one point, we moved to the dining car and ate a filling lunch. When I noticed Bella was starting to look around at some of the other ladies' fashions, I captured her hand lying on the table and began kissing just the tip of her finger. By the time I had the tip of her middle finger in my mouth, sucking on it gently, she withdrew it immediately. A huge blush covered her face.
I was serious. I could care less about the scenery between here and San Francisco. And I didn't want Bella thinking she wasn't adequate with the beautiful dresses she'd sewn herself. I'd ask the conductor if we could secure a sleeping car for the remainder of the trip if it would get my bride's mind off what these other women were wearing. Who cared about them anyway? The most beautiful woman on this train was the one with me!
Bella seemed to take the hint and we were able to enjoy the rest of our trip without her comparing herself to others.
Once in San Francisco, we rented a room at a nice hotel overlooking the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean. Bella was fascinated by the never-ending action of it. I had grown up in Boston, Massachusetts, so I'd seen the ocean in all its majesty before – but seeing it through Bella's wonder-filled eyes was a joy. She put her hair up for our journey, but once we were on the beach, she unpinned it. Bella's hair whipping around her face from the sea breeze was like a vision from a dream.
For dinner, we ate local seafood in the hotel dining room. We decided we would explore the city more the next day, as we were tired from our trip. As we lay in bed, I showed Bella she had no need to compare herself to anyone. She was the most beautiful creature in existence. As my lovely wife fell asleep in my arms, I thanked God repeatedly He brought her into my life.
The next day, we explored the city and ate more seafood. This was something we definitely couldn't get at home. We ducked into many shops and bought a few items. Before we left, we learned Emmett and Rose were in the family way, so Bella wanted to purchase a few baby items she didn't want to make.
I also bought Bella some new clothing. After trying on several dresses, she considered how often she would wear them in her everyday life at home and ended up only purchasing three. Her eyes kept flickering over a very nice emerald green satin dress, which she swore she would rarely wear. I could see in her eyes she loved it. I had the man wrap it up as well. Bella gasped as she knew it would be very expensive. I asked them to send the packages to our hotel.
Once we were out of hearing range of the proprietors of the store, I whispered in her ear, "I'd like you to wear that tonight for dinner, Mrs. Cullen. And I'll enjoy taking it off you later." She blushed but also grinned from ear to ear.
The rest of our trip was enjoyable as possible. We spent as much time as we could on the beach, even if we were huddled up in a blanket together. San Francisco is not known for having warm beaches. We were able to see seals, sea lions, sea otters, and an occasional whale spouting.
When we arrived back home, Bella started getting ill some mornings. She waved it off as some kind of flu bug going around, but I wasn't convinced. I took her to see Doc Black.
As Bella was getting dressed after being examined, Doc Black walked into his waiting room and sat beside me. He said, "Edward, nothing is wrong with Bella – at least nothing that nine months won't cure." As understanding dawned on my face, he continued, "She's strong. She's not like Angela was, with weak blood. She can do this, Edward. Have faith."
And so, every night and every morning, I carefully placed my hands on my bride's ever-expanding stomach and prayed. I prayed for her health, for the baby, for my sanity if anything should happen to either of them.
By the time the Harvest Festival came around that year, Emmett and Rose were celebrating their little daughter. Bella and I enjoyed a dance or two, even though I could barely get my arms around her. She had long since told me I didn't need to treat her like a china doll. I was trying – everyday I was trying.
Then one cold December morning, Bella shook me awake, "Edward, Edward!" I instantly jolted awake. "Please go get Doctor Black. I think it's time." I was almost out the door with just my longjohns on when I heard Bella giggle from the bed. "I think you still have time to get dressed, darling," she said.
"Oh, right," I mumbled as I put on the nearest clothing I could find.
Doc Black arrived with his wife, Leah. I had no idea what was going on in our bedroom as I stirred up the embers of the fire in the living room and put water on the stove to boil. I had heard that's what people did when there was a baby being born. Until I heard Bella cry out in pain and agony. I cried out myself in anguish. How was I going to handle this if something happened to her or the baby?
Leah appeared before me in the kitchen and put her hand on my arm. "Thank you, Edward, for getting some water boiling. I think you should go over to the Swan's or the church and pray for a bit. I'll come get you when your son or daughter has arrived," she said.
I looked at my pocket watch and figured Emmett and Rose would be up by now, so I decided to drop in on them for breakfast. As soon as I was in the door, I told them what was happening and they had my niece in my arms, which was strangely comforting.
They fed me a hearty breakfast, during which Emmett echoed Doc Black's statements, "Bells is a fighter. She'll definitely pull through childbirth like a champ!"
After breakfast, I sat on the couch with my niece and looked into her sweet, innocent face as she slept. Then I closed my eyes and prayed for Bella as she brought our child into the world.
Suddenly, someone was shaking my shoulder. I'd fallen asleep at a time like this? What was I thinking? Leah Black was in front of me.
I looked down at my arms to see someone had taken the precious bundle out of my arms. Panicking, I stood up immediately and said, "Is Bella all right? What's going on?"
Leah smiled broadly and said, "Yes, Edward. Everything is fine. I've come to introduce you to your son."
My son? I have a son? My heart was beating out of the confines of my chest. Leah and I walked back to the store and up the back stairs. Doc Black was cleaning up some of his instruments in my kitchen, but walked over, shook my hand, and said, "Congratulations, Edward. He's a healthy boy and Bella is doing fine."
I walked into our bedroom alone and there, propped up against all the pillows was my beautiful wife, gazing down lovingly at the most handsome baby I'd ever seen. I walked to where I could finally reach my wife on the bed and kissed her forehead.
"What…what should we name him?" I whispered.
Bella looked over at me and said, "I was thinking of naming him after my father and you – Charles Edward; but only if you agree." Charlie Edward Cullen would be a fine name for our son!
Our life was rich and full. Bella was company to Aro and Marcus when they came to the store every day we were open. She supplied them with hot cups of coffee throughout the day in the cold months and cold glasses of ice tea or lemonade in the warmer months. She also provided cookies or other type of baked goods. She especially fawned over Marcus after he lost his wife to a sudden heart attack.
Bella and Rose joined the town quilting circle. Jessica, after being harassed unmercifully by Aro and Marcus for being interested in Bella, finally married one of the miners who lived at the boardinghouse. They eventually moved to Auburn.
Emmett and Rose had three other children, while Bella made me suffer through two others of our own. I wanted to think I handled it better each time, but I don't think I ever did. I breathed a sigh of relief when Renee Esme and later Charity Rose were born.
Three years after the Transcontinental Railroad was completed – in 1872 – my parents came all the way to Gold Run for a visit. They wanted to meet Bella and discover what was making my heart so light and happy in my letters back home. They were absolutely thrilled with their grandchildren and couldn't get enough of them.
At this year's Harvest Festival, my heart was near to bursting when I was able to dance with all three of my beautiful girls – Bella, Renee, and Charity. I believe I saw Charlie asking his teacher for a dance. I may have given him some encouragement in that direction.
As my beautiful bride and I snuggled back under our bed covers after placing "Santa's" gifts under our Christmas tree for our children, I stroked her hair, much the same as I did that very first night I was with her.
I kissed the shell of her ear, and whispered, "Bella, thank you for giving me heaven in the real world. I never would've thought it possible. I love you so much."
"I love you, too, my darling," she replied, as she pulled me closer and kissed me more passionately. And we continued onward, making more memories in our little corner of heaven.
Author's Notes: As always, I love to hear if you liked a story or not! =) This one is complete. I hope you enjoyed!