There are still moments when I have a hard time believing that this is my life, that Edward is mine forever, that our love has been blessed with a beautiful daughter, Renesmee, and that the Cullens are my family. I couldn’t be more thankful for all of them. Over 100 years have passed since I met Edward; though some things have changed he still takes my breath away with every crooked smile and makes my silent heart leap with every kiss.
This morning, the morning of our 100th anniversary, is no different, as we finished a long kiss I felt my cold heart settle back in my chest.
“You’re quiet, love, tell me what you’re thinking.” Edward said as he brushed my hair from my face. I love when he looks at me this way, trying to see my thoughts through my eyes.
I smiled and lifted my shield away, Happy Anniversary.
“You’re keeping your promise then?” His angelic face couldn’t hide his excitement as I began to fulfill my promise to keep my shield away, allowing him to hear my thoughts for an entire twenty-four hours. It was my anniversary present to him.
Though lifting my shield had become easy over the last century, requiring only a tiny portion of my concentration, I still preferred to keep my thoughts to myself, lifting it only if necessary to share a private thought in a crowd or occasionally to intensify an intimate rendez vous with my perfect husband.
Of course I’m keeping my promise. I thought of how much I loved him, how much I still wanted him.
A deep snarl grew within his chest which caused my thoughts to spiral out of control, all surrounding the warmth he created inside of me, the insane pleasure he was always able to give me.
His lips locked on mine instantly.
After being well loved, I snuggled my head under his chin and began to drift through all of the things we had been through together. Our anniversary and returning to Forks was making me strangely reminiscent. I started to think about the places we had seen, the challenges we faced, the people we loved, and the losses we suffered.
I remembered the first time we lived in this big white house and in our little cottage where Renesmee and Jacob were staying now.
“Must you remind me that they sleep in the same bed. You couldn’t have thought of them in some other room of the cottage?”
Still the overprotective father, I thought shaking my head, they are married and she is nearly 100 years old.
“That doesn’t make it any better.” he murmured.
I remembered their wedding, which so closely mirrored my own in this house. It was the last thing we had done here before moving our family near Valdez, Alaska. It broke my heart to leave Charlie, but Carlisle wasn’t a very convincing forty-three and with the Volturi threat still looming we couldn’t take the chance of separating our family. So we promised Charlie that he could visit, he and Sue were happily married by then so I knew that he would be okay.
I wasn’t the only one who had a difficult time leaving Forks, Jake’s pack suffered too. Leah and Seth had decided to make the journey with us, but Quil and Embry stayed in La Push. Quil could never leave Claire and Embry was staying with Quil. Seth’s choice was not a surprise, we already considered him part of the family. And though Leah’s distaste for vampires had not changed, the distrust had faded and she was desperate to control her phasing enough so that she could stop which was easier done away from Sam and Emily.
“I don’t think she ever regretted her decision to come with us to Valdez.” Edward said as he rolled on top of me kissing hungrily. I couldn’t help but giggle through his kiss.
Of course she didn’t regret her decision. Leah imprinted with a Valdez local five days after we moved there. His name was Tanner. It was easy to see he was her perfect match. Tanner was the most easygoing human I’d ever met, calm, cool, always composed. He was everything Leah wasn’t. Funny how nature works.
How charming your sarcasm is Edward.
“I’m glad you think so, love.” I rolled my eyes as he buried his face in my neck and began kissing. He started at my collar bone and worked his way up my neck, as he neared my ear my body arched into his. Then he stopped and looked at me. “Please continue Bella…you were remembering Valdez…Leah and Tanner.”
Right. Tanner took all of the supernatural issues in stride and they were married before we had been in Valdez for six months. Alice was thrilled to have another wedding to plan, luckily Jake convinced Leah to let Alice run wild. She really out did herself; the ceremony took place under a sky of dancing lights. It was beautiful.
“The Aurora Borealis.” Edward said placing a few more kisses on my cold skin that sent a shiver of desire down my spine. “Our time in Valdez passed quickly.”
Because we spent most of our time in bed.
“Oh, that’s right we did.”
Like you could forget. Edward’s laugh shook my whole body with his. Could life have been more perfect?
“Not for me, love.”
With Renesmee grown and married, Edward and I became admittedly obsessed with each other in Valdez. Even Emmett and Rose were finding it difficult to be around us by the time we moved on to Bitely, Michigan. I still can’t believe Carlisle moved us there. The name of the town always made me laugh.
“It was Emmett’s turn to choose.” Edward shrugged.
No other explanation was needed.
When we reached Bitely it was time for us all to go back to high school. Renesmee and Seth were enrolled as freshman, Alice, Edward and I as sophomores and Emmett, Rosalie and Jake as juniors at Hesperia HS. It was a small school much like the high school in Forks.
Being in high school again was a lot more fun that I thought it would be.
Edward stifled a laugh, “Are you still upset that we wouldn’t let you try out for cheerleading?”
I scowled pushing him off of me, and then rolled onto my side. Edward curled himself around me.
“Bella don’t pout. You would have made an adorable cheerleader. I can buy you one of those little outfits and you can wear it for me.” He growled in my ear.
I elbowed him and then had to laugh at his wounded expression as he held his side.
Charlie retired just before Renesmee and Seth’s graduation. He and Sue came to live with us which proved to be very interesting considering he still insisted on ‘need to know only’, but we made it work.
“It worked because they took frequent trips to Alaska to visit the pups.”
Be nice Edward. They did spend a lot of time in Valdez after Leah’s twins were born.
Charlie died just as we began making preparations for our next move. I was finally on my way to Dartmouth and he never got to see it.
“Bella?” Edward said pulling me back to face him.
I’m ok, I miss him.
“Of course you do.”
I closed my eyes. He kissed each of my tearless eyelids before kissing my lips.
So we were off to Hanover, New Hampshire and Sue went to live with Leah and Tanner.
I loved Dartmouth.
“I knew you would.”
High school was amusing, but college, Dartmouth, was exhilarating. I earned a masters degree in English Literature. I loved that you did that with me, my darling husband.
“I enjoyed it as well.”
Renesemee was a whirlwind at Dartmouth. She double majored in chemistry and engineering not stopping until she earned PhD’s in both. She’s so like her father.
And there was my favorite crooked smile.
My breath caught in my throat as I remembered what happened next.
“Don’t think of it, love.” Edward whispered burying his face in my neck.
I wrapped my arms around him and squeezed, but I couldn’t let the memory go.
It had been forty-one years, but Alice never stopped watching for them to make their move. Finally, she had a vision of Demetri, Felix, Jane, & Alec moving into our neighborhood. We knew they would lie in wait until they found one of us alone so Carlisle decided to set a trap.
Our plan was set in motion as I drove off with Renesmee and Jake, hiding Jasper in the trunk of my Audi. A few hours later Emmett and Rose left with Carlisle and Esme hidden in the back of the H2. Edward, Alice and Seth were the bait. They waited until the next morning and headed towards the White Mountains where we were all waiting to ambush the Volturi attack.
Alice saw that this plan would work. We were all in position as Alice, Seth and Edward approached with the Volturi following close behind. Then the unthinkable happened. Demetri made a split second decision, Alice couldn’t have seen and the thought became clear in his mind too late for Edward to intercede. He began tracking Esme. It took only seconds and he had her.
Demetri held her from behind, his teeth at her neck, “Come out,” he taunted just loud enough for us to hear, “I know you are here.”
Carlisle was on his knees in front of Demetri in a flash. We all surfaced in the next second, six vampires, two giant wolves, and Renesmee all poised to attack. We had them horribly outnumbered, but they had the upper hand.
Carlisle pleaded for Esme. “Take me, I’ll not fight you. Please release her.”
“We will go with you.” I spoke without thinking. “Edward, Alice and I, we will go to Aro.”
Edward and Alice agreed immediately.
And then time sped forward. A dark smile grew on Demetri’s face, his lips brushed across Esme’s neck and she was burning in the same second. Carlisle’s scream had barely escaped his lips and our retaliation was already completed. Renesmee knocked Alec onto his back, Jake and Seth ripped him to shreds. Alice and I had Jane in pieces. Rose and Emmett tore Felix in half. Edward and Jasper sent chunks of Demetri flying into the air. The most powerful of the Volturi guard gone in an instant, but the cost was much higher than any of us imagined paying.
Bloodlust quickly replaced Carlisle’s anguish, “This ends now.”
No one questioned him.
We were silent as we boarded the flight to Italy. Only Jake spoke, he called Tanya. He explained what had happened and what we were doing. Without hesitation Tanya and her family were on their way to meet us. Then thirteen enraged, bloodthirsty immortals and two wolves stormed Volterra.
The Volturi counterattack was futile. Our thirst for revenge empowered us and we had the element of surprise. Aro never imagined we Cullens would be so bold. We fought easily through the opposition as we approached their chambers. Once inside only Cauis put up a fight, but he was no match for Jasper and Edward. Marcus welcomed death from Alice, Rose and I with a smile. Aro backed away from Carlisle as he approached, flanked by Emmett and the wolves, attempting to mutter apologies. But Aro’s head rolled before a comprehensible sentence could leave his mouth. Then we burned Volterra to the ground.
Victorious but broken we returned home. Alice and Edward blamed themselves for Esme. Jasper and I became consumed with consoling them. Carlisle stopped working; he rarely came out of his room, he wouldn’t hunt. Only Emmett and Rosalie stopped to consider what we had done.
“We didn’t stage a coup Emmett! We are not replacing them!” Rosalie’s voice echoed through the entire house. I could hear the fear diluted in her anger.
“We may not have a choice!” Emmett boomed with none of his usual tenderness.
It was the loudest fight I had ever heard them have. I agreed with Rose, but truth rang with Emmett’s statement. I knew then that one day we might have to step up, but fortunately that day still hasn’t come.
After a year of mourning in Hanover, Carlisle said he wanted to go to Isle Esme. We spent five years on the island, they were difficult years, but we healed.
“For the most part. Carlisle…”
Yes. Carlisle would never be the same. I kissed Edward’s forehead as I stroked his hair, his face still nuzzled in my neck.
After the island we moved to Vancouver then to Binghamton, New York. Carlisle was better but still refused to work, he would take off on his own for months at a time. Emmett and Rosalie also left us several times over those years. They decided to travel; Jake and Renesmee often went with them. Seth traveled too, backpacking mostly; across Europe, through the Amazon and the outback. Alice, Jasper, Edward and I never parted.
We decided to move to London after New York. Our family reunited there. Carlisle vowed to never leave us again and went back to medicine. Then Renesmee and Jake became the focus of everyone’s attention. Renesmee wanted babies; but the thought of pregnancy frightened us all. Edward forbade it knowing that Renesmee would never disobey him.
“You were in agreement with that decision.”
Yes dear, I remember.
We didn’t know what to expect. We were afraid Renesmee would get hurt. Jake was even on our side for a while. But by the time we were ready to leave London we had all been convinced that Jake’s imprinting was the key. We reasoned that the imprinting wouldn’t have occurred if pregnancy was dangerous for her.
Jake and Renesmee added five beating hearts to our family while we lived in Caribou, Maine. All boys. All delivered safely by Carlisle. Though they smelt of wolf, they successfully stole all of our frozen hearts. They grew slower than Renesmee had, but faster than humans and could all phase by the age of three though their wolf forms looked like puppies compared to the giant russet wolf.
One more baby arrived just as we settled into Denali and gravity shifted…for Seth; a precious baby girl, Elizabeth Isabella.
You got a lot of satisfaction out of Seth’s imprinting, I thought laughing. The memory brought a huge grin to Edward’s beautiful face and then he was laughing with me. Our stay in Denali was very entertaining because Jake took Seth’s imprinting on Lizzie even worse than Edward had taken to the idea of Jake and Renesmee.
Edward’s laugh was cut short as I sat up, suddenly interested in the sounds of our family two floors below.
Party guests arriving?
“Not sure, love.” He said with a look that told me he knew exactly what was going on downstairs.
“You’ll never change Bella.”
I know. I still hated being the center of attention. It was Alice who insisted on being in Forks for our centennial anniversary. A huge party was brewing.
“Here she comes.”
A quick knock and the door flew open. “I can’t believe you two are still in bed. Get up. Get dressed. Let’s go.”
“You know for being so small…”
“Yes Edward, annoying, irritating, blah, blah, blah, I’ve heard it before.”
“We’ll be down in five, Alice.” She looked at me suspiciously. “I promise.”
She smiled and twirled out of the room.
When we opened our bedroom door the scent surprised me, orange blossoms, lilac, freesia, roses. I walked to the railing to look down into the great room below and was overwhelmed by the recreation of our wedding day.
“Happy Anniversary, Mrs. Cullen.” Edward whispered as he wrapped his arms around my shoulders.
We walked downstairs and were greeted by everyone we loved. The other fourteen members of the Cullen family, Tanya’s family, Benjamin & Tia, Siobhan, Liam & Maggie, Zafrina, Senna & Kachiri, most of the wolves had passed on with their mortal mates, but Embry was waiting beside Jake with Collin and Brady. My chest was so full of love but still ached for those missing, Charlie, Esme.
“I miss them too.” I heard in my ear as Edward tightened his arms around me.
Soon we were ushered outside to the dance floor.
“You really are the very best sister in the world. I love you. Thank you.” I said pulling her into a tight hug.
“I feel the same way about you Bella. I don’t know what I would do without you.” She kissed my cheek and then Jasper whisked her away into a waltz.
I turned to face Edward and remembered his proposal, Every single day of forever. I took his smiling face in my hands and kissed him gently.
With my head on his chest I watched our friends and family as they spun around the dance floor.
I have already gotten so much more than I ever dreamed from this life, Edward.
“As have I, love.”
I love you so much. As I thought the words I felt an enormous flood of emotion building in my chest, the kind that would have caused tears if this body could produce them. Edward reached for my face and kissed me passionately.
Then we both watched the sun as it sank below the horizon.
With his hands once again holding my face he looked deep into my amber eyes, “Isabella Cullen, everyday at twilight I find myself thinking that it would be impossible for me to love you anymore than I already do, yet with each breaking dawn I realize that I love you more. My love for you is infinite. My heart. My love. My life. My Bella. I love you.”
As I love you.
And then we danced, into our next century.