OK, so I decided to be nice and post the last chapter of this story AND the epilogue together so that you don't have to wait so long in between updates. Plus think of this as a Christmas present for all of you lovely readers from me to all of you!
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Here is the epilogue for my story, Needing to Let Go.
"I'm telling you Alice, he won't be coming home for Christmas this year. It's just like last year when you told me he would be coming home and then he called and made some lame excuse for not coming home for Christmas." It's been about a year and a half since Edward broke up with me and made it painfully clear that he wanted no contact with me whatsoever.
Alice was sweet for trying to convince me otherwise, but I know that she was just being a good friend and a good sister. She wasn't blind; she knew how good I and Edward were together. Heck, I couldn't believe that she had me even talking about him.
I had sworn I wouldn't ever say his name out loud or even mention it ever again. But then Alice was just that good, she knew just what to say to get me to say my true feelings about anything; whether it be Edward or something completely different.
"So are you coming home for Christmas this year Alice? I know that Jasper is looking forward to seeing you if you are." Alice went off to New York for fashion school and even managed to score a coveted internship at one of the top fashion magazines, Vogue. The internship was nearly over after a whole year of getting people their coffees and lattes, and basically be a gopher for anyone who needed an extra set of hands.
"Yes, I already booked my flight and I'm due back home on the 22th. I can't wait to see everyone! Are your aunt, uncle, and grandparents coming down for Christmas too? I ask because Esme wants to know so she knows how much food to cook." I sighed and thought about it for a few minutes and suddenly remembered Emmett telling me that Charlie and Renee would be coming to visit on Christmas Eve, and my grandparents would arrive on Christmas day. I informed Alice about this piece of news and she told me that she would pass it on to Esme.
"I've got to go Alice, I hear Bentley calling my name from his room. Apparently he's awake from his nap. Talk to you later ok?" I hung up after we exchanged goodbyes and hurried to go get Bentley before he decided to try and break out of his crib. I swear the kid had watched too many action movies with Emmett while Rosalie was at work; Bentley was starting to make a habit out of trying to climb out of his crib when he was finished with his nap.
And I was the only one home at the moment since Emmett took Rosalie to an early evening movie and Jasper went up to Meade to get some supplies for the farm and horses. Both Emmett and Jasper had decided to restart mom and dad's business of horse boarding and even decided to try and branch out into giving riding lessons and training horses for show competitions or rodeos.
I walked into Bentley's room and caught him in the middle of attempting to get his chubby little leg over the top of his crib. When he and I made eye contact Bentley froze in place and a grin formed from behind his pacifier. I walked in towards his crib and he immediately hurried back into his crib and sat down as if he hadn't been trying to make any attempt at an escape. I had told Rosalie about Bentley's attempts at crawling out of his crib after his naps and she told me that she was aware of this. She and Emmett were in the process of saving up money to buy Bentley a toddler bed.
"What do you think you're doing stinker? You know better than to try and escape your crib mister. How does oatmeal sound for a snack?" This immediately caught his attention and he hopped up in his crib and proceeded to stretch his arms out for me to pick him up. "Me eat oats!" He all but yelled. I knew that he was almost two and a half years old, but his volume level was permanently set to loud it seemed like. I headed downstairs to the kitchen and put him in his high chair. I searched through the cabinets and found the box of assorted instant oatmeal. I was in luck, they had one last packet of apple cinnamon flavored oatmeal. I went and mixed it together and put it in the microwave.
"Me want oats! Me want oats!" Bentley started chanting. I swear the kid had no sense of patience it seemed like; granted the kid was almost two and a half years old, but he just loved being loud whenever he wanted to it seemed now a days.
Thank goodness the oatmeal finished and I took it out of the microwave and started stirring it up to try and cool it off. When I thought that it had enough time to cool off I sat down next to him and started to feed the oatmeal to him.
"No! No I do it!" Bentley wanted to feed himself now. I let out a long sigh and debated with myself what I should do and I decided to try and continue to feed him, but Bentley had other ideas. He proceeded to try and smack the spoon out of my hand, and when he couldn't get ahold of that he then tried to smack the bowl from my hands; too bad I was much faster than he was.
"Fine, you be a big boy and eat it yourself." I said and sat down the bowl; which I knew from the beginning that this was a big mistake.
"My oats!" Bentley said right before he decided to pick up the warm bowl of oatmeal and pour it on top of his head.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you know that something's going to happen, but all you can do is sit there and look like a complete idiot? Well, I had one of those moments when I realized, a bit too late I might add, that Bentley decided instead of eating the oatmeal he wanted to wear the bowl like a hat.
I groaned and quickly took the bowl from him and started cleaning him off as much as I could.
"Buddy, you're going to have to have three baths to get all of this gummy mess out of your hair." This of course earned me a giggle and chuckle from Bentley as I cleaned the oatmeal off of his head.
I was lucky though, Bentley only managed to get the oatmeal in his hair and on his shirt. Thankfully I just had to take a damp washcloth and got the oatmeal out of his hair. I was lucky that the oatmeal was more thick than runny this time.
"We're home, the movie was good and why does it smell like apples and cinnamon in here? Oh my god, I take it Bentley tricked you into letting him try and feed himself the oatmeal. " Rosalie said as she took in the sight of me wiping down Bentley's high chair and the wet spots on his shirt. I just nodded my head yes and finished up washing his hair.
"Yeah, and stinker here tried to climb out of his crib again today after his nap."
"Well, no longer will that happen because Emmett and I stopped at the furniture store and bought the cutest toddler bed for Bentley. The bed sheets have cute little racecars on them." Rosalie said as she pulled out her phone to show me the pictures of the bed she took with her phone. "And the guy said that they would deliver it either later tomorrow or early on Christmas Eve. I can't believe that my little boy is old enough for a big boy bed."
I nodded and headed back up to my room after Rosalie started talking to Bentley about his new bed that he would be getting soon. As I reached the top of the stairs I heard a mixture of giggling and screaming I wasn't quite sure whether or not he was excited about getting his new bed or not.
I surfed the internet on my laptop and even managed to skim through Facebook, there wasn't anything all that interesting today or even the past couple of days even.
Before I knew it, it was time to go to bed. In two days Renee and Charlie would be here for Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas Day Lily and Joseph would arrive to celebrate Christmas. We would apparently have to also go to Carlisle's and Esme's to celebrate with them later that night. It would be a big day, and I secretly hoped that Edward would make a repeat of last year and not be there for Christmas. Now, I don't want to sound like a scrooge or anything, but I don't think I could keep my emotions in check if he decided to show up for Christmas.
I mean the guy broke up with me after graduation and then stopped all forms of communication and never returned any of my emails or Facebook messages. I had nothing to say to Edward, and I'm pretty sure he felt the exact same way.
"What time did Alice say that Esme and Carlisle wanted us there for dinner?" Emmett asked as he was wrestling with Bentley to get his winter coat on him. I told him what Alice had told me that we needed to be there by five for dinner, and that we were supposed to each bring one gift for the gift exchange they would have after dinner.
I guess that all of Alice and Edward's cousins and aunts and uncles would be coming for Christmas as well.
My grandparents had spent most of the day with us today, but had to go home early seeing as how Lily wasn't feeling all that great to begin with and she didn't want to get anyone else sick by being around all those people.
She has mellowed out some since I first met her two years ago. I still can't believe she's the same woman who threatened to take custody of me and have me move to live with her and Joe. Lily being Lily she didn't get us any presents, except for little Bentley he got a few good toys from her and grandpa Joe, no, she decided to give us grown up kids each a $50 gift card; now seeing as how this woman used to be so hardnosed, a gift card was actually a step up for her.
When Emmett finally got Bentley's coat on him we headed off to Carlisle and Esme's house. I wasn't sure why but my heart felt as if it were up in my throat I was so nervous. I guess it was that I was nervous about whether or not Edward would be there or if he would be a no-show once again this year. I hoped to god that that was the case.
My hopes were dashed when I spotted a silver Volvo parked in the driveway. I knew exactly who's car that was, and I desperately wanted to be anywhere but here right now. I mean I would rather be hanging out with Raven, Emily, Kaleb, and Jackson right now catching up with them at Delilah's than having to face Edward in awkward silence.
We walked up to the door and I almost wanted to turn around and make a break for the car, but I stopped myself; seeing as how there was snow on the ground and part of the driveway was a sheet of ice it wouldn't be wise of me to attempt to run off.
Renee made the effort to knock on the door and I couldn't help but let out a gasp when I saw who opened the door. I had thought it was Edward at first, but as I kept staring I realized that it was his 'looks a like twin' cousin Garrett. He remembered me and my family immediately and with a smile he took a step to the side to let us in. We were instructed to place our presents under the tree and to go and make ourselves comfortable.
The room was amazingly decorated, I'm sure that Esme spent a lot of hours making sure that everything was exactly the way she wanted it. Holiday decorations ranging from Christmas wreathes, to quaint folk-art style Christmas decorations hanging on the walls and all over the house. The family room, where the Christmas tree was, could compete with those pictures of 'Christmas Holidays' in those Good Housekeeping magazines. I mean the lights twinkled and reflected off of the silver and gold tinsel that hung on the tree.
I placed my wrapped gift under the gorgeously decorated Christmas tree, and when I turned around I about let out a scream of fright. Anderson, better known as Andy, stood directly behind me and smiled big. He had gotten a bit taller since I last saw him two years ago. He was now seven years old, and he definitely had Carlisle's golden blonde hair. He told me that he had a secret he wanted to show me, and before I could think about it he took me by the hand and pulled me through the house and into the middle of an empty room. I was about to protest and storm out, when Andy took off and slammed the door on me before I could get out.
I heard the door click; signaling that he had went and locked me in the room.
What the heck is going on? Why did Andy lock me in this room?
Just then I heard someone grumbling and complaining to Alice about how he didn't like surprises and that he was just fine hauled away in his room. From the other apparent door in stumbled a disheveled Edward. I saw a glimpse of Alice before she slammed the other door behind her and I heard the familiar locking of the door.
I was locked in a room with the last person in the world I wanted to be with right now. I avoided eye contact as much as possible with him. I didn't trust myself. I was afraid that I would crack and immediately forgive him for all he put me through. It took my whole freshman year of College to finally feel comfortable even mentioning him. I mean I could say his name and everything, but it took a whole year to finally be able to say his name and actually think about him without breaking into tears.
"You look good Bella. Berkeley's been good to you."
That was what he was going to say to me after all this time? No apology? No 'I made a mistake, I'm sorry.'?
I let out a sigh and just nodded my head. I didn't trust my voice not to crack as I tried to keep my resolve.
A few more awkward pauses went on between us then we both tried to talk at the same time, and then we both fumbled over our words trying to let the other try and talk first. I swear it was like something out of one of those cheesy romantic comedies. Finally I agreed to go first and I asked how he was doing and if he was still planning on going to med school.
"No, I decided to follow what I love most and I switched my major from Human Medicine to Performing Arts. I am going to try and become a professional pianist." Wow he was serious then. I hadn't expected that from him. I mean I knew that he always did like playing the piano and that he loved music in general. I was happy for him that he was doing what he wanted to do most. I wasn't about to tell him 'I told you so' because he had given me grief over doing the exact same thing by going to Berkeley.
"That's good. I'm glad you're happy…" I nodded and immediately turned to look anywhere but in his direction.
Did he just say what I think he did?
Did he just apologize to me? I decided to make him say it out loud just what he was sorry for.
"What do you have to be sorry for?" I did my best to sound more curious than spiteful. When he went and apologized for everything that he said to me after graduation I about caved and leapt into his arms right then and there, but I managed to take a few deep breath and resist that urge.
"Yeah, you were three kinds of a jerk that day Edward. Why were you such a jerk that day? I mean you got angry over something so small, and then you go and break up with me." I could feel my voice start to shake a bit as I tried to keep myself from feeling all of the emotions I had managed to hold back for all this time, but I was failing miserably.
Tears started to stream down my cheeks as I waited on bated breath to hear his explanation for breaking my heart.
"It seems so stupid now but I was mad that you hadn't told me about Berkeley first, and then when I heard how you wanted to major in English Literature I knew that that was a good school for what you wanted to do. Bella, I said all of those hurtful things so that you would want to go to Berkeley and not want to settle for a school that was close to me just so that I would be happy. You may try and argue that you wouldn't have, but I know you Bella and I know that you would've given up the chance to go to an amazing school to make me happy. That's what you do, you sacrifice your wants for those of others, and I wasn't about to let you do that to you."
Wow, that was the sweetest and beautiful thing I think I have ever heard. I wasn't sure what to say right now. I mean I was at a loss for words at the moment. I could feel more tears start to pour down my cheeks as the words Edward spoke resonated with me.
He said what he did to make sure that I would go to the school that I really wanted to go to. He made a complete ass out of himself so that I would have no choice but to go to Berkeley.
What I did next even surprised me, I sprinted towards Edward and jumped into his arms and wrapped my arms as tight I could around his neck and hugged him. I felt myself start to sob into his shirt. I hoped that he wouldn't mind a few tear stains on his green argyle sweater he had on. Once I was sure that I was done crying I untangled myself from him and took a step back and made eye contact with him for the first time since I first was locked in this room with him.
In his eyes I could see both happiness and love, and I knew at this very moment that I felt the very same way. I was in love with Edward, and I think I always have been and it took all this time to finally realize it fully.
"I was going to wait until after we ate and the gifts had been passed out, but I think now is a better time to give you this."
I was about to ask him what he had in mind when he pulled out a small black velvet box and opened it up for me to see.
"It's a promise ring, think of it as a pre-engagement ring. I even went and had in inscribed." I couldn't help but smile as I took the ring from the box and looked closely along the inside of the band.
Never Let Go
I put my hand up to my mouth to try and muffle the gasp that had escaped my lips. More tears started to pour down my face as I read the inscription over again in my head.
It was what he had told me when I had another of my panic attacks after Jackson's mom had accidentally shot his dad; for some reason that had brought up memories of my mom and dad and how abruptly they had been taken from me and my brothers.
"Never Let Go Bella, no matter how hard it gets don't ever let go of your memories of your mom and dad. I know that they are looking down on us right now and are happy that you and I are together and happy as ever. I love you so much, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. This ring, " Edward said as he held up my left hand and slipped the promise ring onto my left ring finger. ", is a symbol of just how much I love you and that I make a promise to love no one else but you for the rest of my days."
A smile crept up onto my face and even more tears threatened to fall as Edward spoke so beautifully. I was about to speak when Edward's lips hurriedly crashed onto mine. We were like this for a good while when all of a sudden the doors slammed open and we jerked back from each other, each of us were gasping for breath, and saw that Alice was standing in the doorway along with Andy and a couple other of their cousins. They were all smiles.
"I told you that all they needed was to be locked up in a room together and they would sort everything out." Alice said with a playful wink.
"I should've known you were the mastermind behind this Alice. Thank you." I said as Edward pulled me into his chest and rested his chin on my head.
"Come on, we better get going, Esme's about finished with dinner and I'm sure that everyone is itching to see you two hand in hand again." Alice said as she waved us to follow her and her three cousins back to the dining room.
We sat down at the elongated dinner table, Carlisle and Esme were at the head of the table, and Edward and I were allowed to sit side by side at the table as we sat with all of our families.
Once we finished eating the Christmas feast we excused ourselves to the family room with the presents and Andy and Alice put the presents in two black trash bags and we were to blindly pick a present from the bag.
After it was all said and done and all the younger kids were playing with their toys, the adults and older kids, meaning me, Edward, Alice, Jasper, Emmett, and Rosalie all relaxed on the couch nearest to the fireplace. We made small talk and Alice talked about her internship and how frustrating it was at Vogue Magazine that no one listened to her.
"We have some news that we were going to wait and share later, but we might as well tell you now." Rosalie said as she took a reassuring glance at Emmett. Ok, so my mind immediately went to a certain possibility that would be the most amazing news I think they could have, but I waited to hear what they were going to say. "I found out a few days ago that Emmett and I are expecting another baby, it looks like Bentley is going to be an older brother!" Rosalie squealed. Alice and I both joined in and I leapt up from my seat next to Edward and hugged her tight.
"Talk about your own Christmas present! That is amazing news; Bentley is going to be an amazing big brother!" Alice cheered.
It seemed that everything was falling into place. Edward and I were back together and stronger than ever, Emmett and Rosalie are expecting their second child (first together), and Jasper and Alice are just getting the hang of the whole boyfriend/girlfriend relationship thing; even if she's in New York for most of the time while she's in fashion school.
Those words that are forever inscribed on my promise ring came to mind.
Never Let Go.
I will never let go of the memory of my mom and dad. I know that they are looking down on me and looking out for me and my brothers.
My life was good, no, great now, even after all that has happened I knew that I would always be loved.
A/N: So it is official, this story has come to a close. I am feeling a mixture of emotions right now. I'm feeling relieved that I have one less story to worry about updating, and I'm sad that the story is over. I loved writing this story and I loved how the characters had developed throughout the story.
I hope you all have enjoyed this story as much as I have.
Now that this story has come to a close please be sure to read my other story, Quest for the Cure, and add it to your alerts and favorites!
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