Melody of my Heart

Epilogue: One Year Later

"Almost two years ago," Wil began, looking out over the sea of faces that filled the auditorium, "my fiancé died in a tragic accident – but this song isn't about him. While I was still mourning his loss, I met a man who seemed capable of putting the pieces back together for me when even I was incapable of doing it. Too late, I realized that fear was no reason to push him away. This piece is called, How We Love."

Alice sat at the back of the auditorium watching with a knowing smile on her lips. Jasper sat on her left, Edward and Renesmee on her right, and a few rows in front of them she could see the back of Charlie's head as he watched his great-niece with pride. While she was interested in the performance, most of Alice's attention was on Edward, sitting stiffly despite Jasper's calming influence on him.

Life has taught me this

Every day is new

And if anything is true

All that matters when we're through

Is how we love

True to his word, Wil had never seen him, nor any other vampire, after he had left her sitting on her couch with a heart she had broken all on her own. No amount of convincing from her or her siblings could get Edward to reconsider, and while it felt dreadfully like leaving Bella all over again, they all knew it had been Wil's choice this time – and so Alice and Jasper moved with Edward, transferring to the University of Seattle. Rosalie and Emmett had stayed behind; they would finish their programs here and then reunite with the family afterward.

Faced with what we lack

Some things fall apart

But from the ashes new dreams start

All that matters to the heart

Is how we love

They hadn't moved immediately, though. It had taken another few days to track down the newborn – Rhonda – that had been left behind to terrorize the campus. Her maker was long gone, and though they'd tried to convince Rhonda to follow their lifestyle, she had attacked viciously. They hated the task on their hands, but once she was laid to rest, Edward had written a letter and mailed it to Wil to assure her she was no longer in danger.

On stage, the strings joined the piano in a flourish as the chorus began.

How we love

How we love

From the smallest act of kindness

In a word, a smile, a touch

Charlie, who had retired to Kennewick to be near his remaining human family, had become a part of the Cullen family as well. With the three of them in Seattle, they made the journey once a month, meeting him at their home in Forks. Renesmee made the trip a few times, and the meeting between the two had been nothing short of magic. Both had wept as they hugged each other tightly, and the others in the room felt their throats tighten as their eyes tingled with tears they could not shed. Making up for lost time, Charlie took her fishing, and she and Jacob took him to ball games in Seattle.

Her marriage to Jacob had been a sore point at first, something Charlie had a hard time accepting, but Jacob had won him over eventually.

In spite of our mistakes

Chances come again

If we lose or if we win

All that matters in the end

Is how we love

Alice had, of course, kept her second sight on Wil as well, and thought often of the woman that she had once seen as her sister. The visions were gone now, mere memories, but she recalled them fondly and thought well of Wil despite her decision. The woman had slowly recovered from the loss of Edward in a way Bella had never been able to, working toward a scholarship that allowed her to find her own place off campus and continue pursuing a career in music. On stage, she looked radiant, though the Willa that Alice often saw still hurt, still struggled with being alone when she had nearly had a life full of love, not once but twice. Before coming, Alice had tried to convince Edward to go see her again, but he had refused.

Some things never changed.

Wil stopped singing, and the musicians behind her allowed their music to come to the forefront. The drums started in softly, accenting the lilting rhythm as the strings joined the piano in a delicate harmony. Wil closed her eyes, and Alice watched as a single tear slipped onto her cheek. Her lips turned up in a soft smile, though, as the music overtook her, and it comforted Alice as Wil began to sing again.

How we love

How we love

I will not forget your kindness

When I needed it so much

Edward… Edward struggled. Sighing quietly, she glanced at her brother and watched the pain etched on his face. He would hide it well as soon as the song was over, but for now, she saw that he still held on to it. Despite that, he was doing better than he had since losing Bella; somewhere between meeting Wil and reuniting with Charlie, Jasper said he had finally let go of the guilt and the grief, and he was throwing himself fully into his education. A vision of Edward practicing beside Carlisle filled Alice with pride, especially when she saw the smile on his face. He would find his way. Wil had given him a gift, even if she had run from him in the end.

Sometimes we forget

Trying to be so strong

In this world of right and wrong

All that matters when we're gone

All that mattered all along

All we have that carries on

Is how we love

The song came to a close with a lasting note from Wil and a soft fade from the strings. Alice and her family rose to their feet along with a scattering of others in the crowd as the applause echoed through the auditorium. Wil turned gracefully, gesturing to each of her musicians and introducing them by name, then she thanked them and the group left the stage. As the professors returned to the podium, the Cullens excused themselves, slipping out the back.

There were no words between them. Jasper wrapped an arm around Alice's waist, his hand settling comfortably on her hip, but they both watched Edward. As they passed by the hall that led backstage, he paused, casting a glance down it.

Alice's mind opened, and she saw a deluge of images all at once: Edward standing outside a rehearsal room with Wil's hand on his cheek, the two of them kissing firmly beneath a tall oak in the middle of summer, Wil's eyes fluttering open to reveal bright-

"Coming, Dad?"

Renesmee's voice broke the vision, and as quickly as it had appeared, it had slipped away like smoke on the wind. Edward shook his head slightly and turned to his daughter, setting an arm around her shoulders.

"Let's go," he said quietly, and they left the Hop, making their way into the night beyond.

Seeing the genuine smile on Edward's face, she didn't need a vision to know that he would be just fine.


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